WASHINGTON, D.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – New fathers in the National Guard, and the Reserves, could soon be granted paternal leave, all thanks to a new bill introduced Thursday by a North Carolina Congressman.
The Reserve Component Parental Leave Parity Act is the first bill Congressman Jeff Jackson has introduced and sponsored since getting elected.
Right now, only women are granted family leave when they have a child, adopt one, or become long-term foster parents. Jackson has been in the Army National Guard for 20 years and is hopeful this new bill will make a big difference for his fellow servicemembers.
“Honestly, it would have made me eligible as a father for some more weekends with my kids, which I would have appreciated,” Jackson said.
The military has expanded this opportunity for men on active duty, but the Reserve and National Guard haven’t done the same yet.
“I think it was an oversight. I really don’t know,” Jackson said. “But there’s no policy reason why you would include one and omit the other.”
Jackson is partnering with Congressman Zach Nunn, a Republican from Iowa, on this legislation. Jackson thinks it should receive support from both sides since it’s a bipartisan bill.
“He [Zach Nunn] is in the Reserve. I’m in the Army National Guard,” Jackson explained. “So we said, ‘Hey if there’s ever a bill that deals with a guard and the reserve, let’s do it together.’ A few weeks later, this came to us.”
If this bill passes, new fathers will get twelve weeks off with their new child, whether an adoption, long-term foster child, or baby.