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U.S. Army Expands Soldier Benefits – biological and non-biological parents — around pregnancy, parenthood and the postpartum period.
The directive — prompted in part by the grassroots efforts of some soldiers — is a rewrite of policies for the branch, which includes more than 400,000 parents across the force.
The directive was a mix of new policies and updates to existing rules.
“We’re recruiting soldiers, but we’re retaining families,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in a statement. “Winning the war for talent means ensuring that our best and brightest employees don’t have to choose between service and family. »
One of the rules is a provision that soldiers who give birth will be excused for one year from any event of continuous service longer than normal service day, including deployment and training in the field.
This 365-day deferment also applies to certain other non-biological parents, single soldiers, and soldiers undergoing fertility treatment. A military member of a bi-military couple who adopts or places a child long-term is also eligible for deferment.
People undergoing fertility treatments will also be exempt from a permanent change of station for up to 365 days.
Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers will get 12 days of paid leave after a birth, which is between three and six months leave for part-time troops who train a few days a month. according to Military.com.
The military is also trying to make it easier for soldiers to breastfeed. Commanders will be required to provide nursing soldiers with nursing breaks of at least 30 minutes every two to three hours. Soldiers will be able to breastfeed or express milk in a locked room other than a lavatory, with facilities including a place to sit and a refrigerator to store milk.
“This directive is intended to normalize parenthood and extend benefits and accommodations to all new parents: single/double service members, single moms and dads,” said Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. said in a tweet. “Our army has 404,000 strong and growing parents! »
The military has also made changes to physical fitness requirements for soldiers who have recently given birth.
The Air Force, Navy and National Guard Bureau have yet to release new policies, Military.com reported.