Rounds, Udall Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Allow All Military Women to Count Maternity Leave Toward Years of Service
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) today introduced a bipartisan bill to make certain that women serving in the National Guard and Reserves can take maternity leave without worrying about how it will affect their creditable military service.
“Our men and women in uniform serve bravely and honorably in both the regular armed forces and the reserve component,” said Rounds. “Our legislation evens the playing field to make sure mothers who serve in the National Guard or Reserve receive the same maternity leave benefits as their active-duty counterparts. It will allow these new mothers to focus on their newborns without worrying about making-up missed drill periods and other duties.”
“On behalf of the more than 45,000 members of the National Guard Association of the United States, we strongly support Senator Udall and Senator Rounds’ amendment to the FY18 NDAA that would ensure Guardsmen and Reservists are entitled to the same maternity leave as their active duty counterparts,” said B.G. (Retired) J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). “We urge the Senate to adopt this bipartisan amendment, which would guarantee paid maternity leave for the more than 150,000 women currently serving in the National Guard and Reserves. This is simply a question of fairness.”
The Mothers of Military Service Leave (MOMS) Act, makes sure that female service members of the reserve component receive creditable military service pay and points during time spent on maternity leave. The Department of Defense established new policies for maternity leave in 2016, authorizing 12 weeks fully paid maternity leave after normal pregnancy and childbirth. However, under the current law, female service members in the Reserve Component can lose out on credit for their military service and points towards retirement while they are on maternity leave. Reserve component members in inactive duty training status are still required to attend unit training assemblies, if the female service member does not perform duty within the allotted timeframe, she is in jeopardy of not receiving credit toward retirement. This amendment will make certain female service members of the reserve component receive pay and points for 12 pay periods toward retirement after normal pregnancy and childbirth.
The provision is supported by the NGAUS and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS).
Rounds and Udall also intend to introduce the MOMS Leave Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 when that bill is debated on the Senate floor, as early as September.