The Honorable Jack Reed The Honorable Mike Rogers
728 Hart Senate Office Building U.S. Senate 2469 Rayburn House Office U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Roger Wicker The Honorable Adam Smith
425 Russell Senate Office Building U.S. Senate 2264 Rayburn House Office Building U.S. House of Representatives
RE: Including the Reserve Component Parental Leave Parity Act (HR 2597 / S. 1095; Section 601 in H.R. 2670) in the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act
Dear Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Wicker, Chairman Rogers, and Ranking Member Smith:
We write in support of Section 601 of the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024. This important provision puts parental leave eligibility for members of the National Guard and Reserves on par with active-duty servicemembers so that all parents can spend these critical first three months with their new children.
The undersigned organizations urge you to keep this section intact during conference in order to support our Reserve and National Guard servicemembers and their families. Under current law for drilling members of the Reserves and National Guard, only birth mothers are authorized to take parental leave for three monthly drilling periods upon the birth of a child. Section 601 expands this authorization to include all new parents—including fathers, adoptive parents, and parents of children newly placed in long-term foster care settings. To be clear, this provision only extends the same benefits to Reserve and National Guard parents that active-duty parents are already entitled to.
At a time when we are seeing recruiting and retention challenges across the services, this simple fix helps to ensure that all military parents are fully and equally supported as they build their families. This parental leave allows Reservists and Guardsmen to focus on settling into their new family routine before returning to monthly drills, where they can then focus more intentionally on their military mission.
Section 601 was included on a bipartisan basis in the House-passed NDAA and has bipartisan support in the Senate. 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. We respectfully urge you to retain this section in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 to support all of our military families.
Blue Star Families
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
With Honor Action