Part of the new diversity and inclusion initiatives, the new policy went into effect Wednesday. The aim is to give “female Airmen more time to better understand and assess how they can balance a military career and family needs,” AFPC explained in an official statement. The previous policy required pregnant airmen to determine whether or not they want to leave the service prior to delivery.
“To succeed in meeting current and future mission requirements, the Air Force relies on access to the best talent our nation has to offer,” said Daniel Sitterly, the acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said, “To compete for that talent in the future, we must place consistent emphasis on diversity and inclusion in order to attract and retain talent.”
“Our country has a natural advantage in our incredibly diverse population – we just need to maximize it,” he added.
The new policy applies to active duty National Guard or Air Force Reserve mothers who gave birth on or after Wednesday. Under the provisions of the new policy, new mothers have 12 months to apply for separation, and the date of separation must be within 12 months of the application date, reports Military Times.
Pregnant female airmen can still leave the service before childbirth, but they must apply for separation between 30 and 90 days before the expected delivery date.
This new policy builds on policies for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve officially put into effect in February permitting female airmen to remain in the service during pregnancy and while on maternity leave.