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ICYMI: National Guard Association of the United States Highlights Senator Hassan’s Bipartisan Bill

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan is pushing to pass her bipartisan bill with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to expand parental leave eligibility for Reserve and National Guard members to cover all new parents as part of this year’s final National Defense Authorization Act. Currently, for members of the Reserves and National Guard, only birth mothers can receive parental leave benefits, leaving out spouses and parents of adoptive or foster children. Senator Hassan and Murkowski’s bill would ensure that all parents welcoming a child into their lives are able to take parental leave.

Read more from National Guard Association of the United States here or below:

National Guard Association of the United States: Lawmakers: Provide Guard, Reserve Parental Leave Parity

By Mark Hensch

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress wants National Guardsmen and Reservists to have the same parental leave benefits as their active-duty counterparts.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Reps. Jeff Jackson, D-N.C., and Zach Nunn, R-Iowa, are pushing congressional negotiators to include the idea in the final version of the annual defense policy bill.

The four lawmakers sent the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees an Oct. 20 letter urging them to keep a provision expanding parental leave for the U.S. military’s reserve components in the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.

"At a time when we are seeing recruiting and retention challenges across the services, this simple fix helps to ensure that parents are fully supported as they build their families," the group wrote.

"It closes a gap for Reserve and National Guard members and allows their parental leave benefits to apply to mothers as well as fathers bringing a new child into the home," they added.

Currently, active-duty birth mothers, spouses, partners and adoptive and foster parents are eligible for 12 weeks of leave.

While this policy covers reserve-component service members on active status, it doesn’t help Guard and Reserve personnel on drill status.

These service members must use the Reserve Component Maternity Leave Program instead, which only provides three months of excused absences from drill with retirement points for birth mothers.

"There is no reason why someone drilling with the National Guard and Reserves shouldn't have access to the same paid leave as someone serving on active duty," Hassan said in a statement emailed by her office Monday.

"I am proud to lead this bipartisan push with Senator Murkowski to ensure that all parents who are serving in the National Guard or Reserves — including spouses and parents who are adopting or fostering a child — can access paid leave," she added.