New Army Directive Will Make Life Easier for Military Families
The Army’s New Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive
Last week the U.S. Army updated its Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive. This was a result of a grassroots effort by soldiers who knew that there needed to be changes made. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth signed the directive on April 19th.
This directive is aimed at improving opportunities for soldiers to advance their careers and also provide the time and flexibility that is needed to care for military families.
According to an Army.mil article, “We recruit Soldiers, but we retain Families,” said Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army. “Winning the war for talent means making sure our best and brightest people don’t have to choose between service and Family.”
This directive has 12 components, six are new, and six are updates. This will affect over 400,000 parents within the Army and includes 29,000 single fathers. This consolidated document will be used as a resource for leaders going forward so they can help military families.
From the memorandum, “This directive updates Army policy and executes Secretary of Defense priorities pursuant to reference 1f. It incorporates evidence-based health and wellness guidance to improve quality of life, promote flexibility, and enable all Soldiers to safely continue their duties, return to readiness, perform critical assignments, and advance in their careers while growing their Families. This directive is grounded in the Army People Strategy; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Annex; Holistic Health and Fitness practices; Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Policy; and medical guidance. It also serves as part of the broader Action Plan To Prioritize People and Teams.”
Who Does the Directive Apply To?
This directive will apply to:
- Regular Army (RA)
- Army National Guard (ARNG)
- Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS)
- U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)
Categories included in the Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive
Here are the different categories included in the Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive as well as some of the changes. You can view the rest of the details of the directive on the memorandum linked above.
- Postpartum Body Composition Exemption
- The body composition exemption is increased from 180 days to 365 days after the conclusion of pregnancy.
- Physical Fitness Testing
- Soldiers will be exempt from taking a record physical fitness test while pregnant and for a year after pregnancy.
- There will be exemptions for pregnancy and postpartum.
- Child Development Program facilities may be designated as “No-Hat, No-Salue” areas.
- Operations and Training Deferment
- They want to ensure that at least one parent is home with their child so all birth parents (soldiers who physically give birth) are deferred or excused for 365 days after the birth of their child from deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments.
- Professional Military Education (PME)
- A pregnancy profile will not disqualify a soldier from being selected as an honor graduate or commandant list selectee.
- Location Accommodations
- Commands will need to provide lactation breaks and designated location areas for lactating soldiers.
- Fertility Treatments
- Soldiers will be stabilized from a PCS or a deployment for up to 365 days from their first appointment while receiving fertility treatments.
- Conclusion of Pregnancy
- Convalescent leave after a birth event, miscarriage, or stillbirth. This will apply to the soldier or the spouse of a soldier.
- Family Care Plans (FCPs)
- Soldiers will be given at least three weeks’ notice for duty requirements outside of the normal duty hours as well as for significant changes to the soldier’s normal duty hours.
- Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS)
- Pregnant soldiers will be eligible to apply and compete for ADOS tours despite their medical readiness classification 3 status.
- Parental Leave in the Reserve Component
- Birthparents will be granted 12 paid UTAs (Unit Training Assemblies) within a year after giving birth. They will also be allowed 4 UTAs that will be unpaid but could be rescheduled.
- Education of Leaders
- Pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting training will be incorporated throughout all pre-command courses.
The Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive will help the Army become more family-friendly which helps with retention. These changes will help to fix some of the issues soldiers have had while trying to raise a family along with a career in the military.
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About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.