Washington, DC — Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn says the defense spending bill that congress passes each year includes an expansion of parental leave for some National Guard and Reserve soldiers.
Nunn, who’s in the Air Force Reserve, was joined by a Democratic Congressman from North Carolina who’s also a reservist, in co-sponsoring a bi-partisan Parental Leave Parity Act earlier this year and it was included in the annual defense bill that passed the House last week.
Birth mothers in all branches of the military can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, but only fathers and adoptive parents who are full time soldiers are currently eligible for parental leave. Nunn says expanding parental leave to reservists and National Guard soldiers may boost recruitment.
Nunn says as a reservist, he was denied paid parental leave when he and his wife recently adopted two foster daughters. He also experienced the disparity a few years ago when he was serving in the Iowa National Guard.
The parental leave change for reservists and guard members has had bipartisan backing in the U.S. Senate and Nunn says the new policy is likely to stay in the National Defense Authorization Act when the Senate votes on it.