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Udall, Rounds, Heinrich: Bipartisan Bill Allows Military Women To Count Maternity Leave ​Toward Years Of Service​

on August 5, 2017 - 4:45pm
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) 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.
 
The amendment is also backed by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).
 
The Mothers of Military Service (MOMS) Leave Act, ensures 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 bill ensures that female service members of the reserve component receive pay and points for 12 pay periods toward retirement after normal pregnancy and childbirth.
 
"Our service members make great sacrifices to serve our country, they should not also have to sacrifice their hard-earned pay and credits because they took time off to care for their newborn baby," Udall said. "We have made great strides in ensuring our service members are taken care of, including providing the women serving in our military the paid maternity leave they need to start a family while they serve our country. This bill is a simple fix to prevent women in the National Guard and Reserves from losing out on pay and credits they are earning with their time served simply because they are taking time off to recover from birth and care for their new baby."
 
“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.” 
 
“Women in the military shouldn’t be forced to choose between caring for a newborn or keep their standing in the military. We should support all of our women in uniform who make great sacrifices to serve the country and ensure they receive hard-earned pay and credits,” Heinrich said. “I’m proud to fight for policies that allow women serving in the National Guard and Reserves to take maternity leave, improve retention, and strengthen our military.” 
 
“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​. "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 amendment is supported by the NGAUS and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS). The amendment can be found here and a brief summary of the bill can be found here.
 
Udall and Rounds 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.

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