July 23, 2020

Udall, Moran Pass Amendment to Provide Maternity Leave to the National Guard and Reserve Moms

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – both members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense – announced that their Mothers of Military Service (MOMS) Leave Act passed the Senate as an amendment in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation will ensure that women serving in the U.S. National Guard and Reserve can take maternity leave without worrying about how it will affect their military service. 

In 2016, the Department of Defense established new policies that authorized 12 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave after pregnancy and childbirth for active-duty servicemembers. However, under current law, women serving in the National Guard and Reserve can lose out on credit for their military service and points toward retirement while they are on maternity leave. Members of the Reserve Component in inactive duty training status are still required to attend unit training assemblies – or weekend drill – in order to receive points toward creditable military service. If a woman servicemember misses drill, she is in jeopardy of not receiving credit toward retirement.

This amendment would make certain that women serving in the Reserve Component receive pay and points for 12 pay periods (equal to six drill weekends) towards retirement after pregnancy and childbirth, thereby guaranteeing paid maternity leave for approximately 150,000 women currently serving in the National Guard and Reserve.

In New Mexico, 2,838 service members are currently serving the state and nation in the Army National Guard and 995 in the Air National Guard.

“Our service members make enormous sacrifices for our country when they answer the call to duty, often spending long days and months away from their friends and families to support Americans across the country and throughout the world,” said Udall. “We need to fully support military moms, instead of asking some to choose between caring for their newborns or receiving pay and retirement credits. Members of our National Guard and Reserves deserve the same paid maternity leave as their counterparts in other military branches. The Guard and Reserves play an essential role in securing our national safety – it’s only fair that our family leave policy supports these moms as they serve our country.” 

“Women who serve our country should not be inadvertently penalized for having a child, nor should they be expected to return to drill duties in the weeks following childbirth,” said Moran. “This amendment would support new mothers in our National Guard and Reserve by making certain they receive the same paid maternity leave benefits as their active-duty counterparts. After working with a number of moms in the National Guard and my colleagues in the Senate, I am pleased this amendment was included in FY2021 NDAA to ensure that women can both serve our nation and build their families in the National Guard and Reserve.