New benefits that bring military families closer together
by Carolyn Alston, MyAFB Strategic Communications
The Department of the Air Force Instruction 36-3003, Military Leave Program, was recently updated to include leave time for Airmen and Guardians who elect to participate in a fertility treatment program at a military medical treatment facility. This update provides up to 35 days of Permissive Temporary Duty (TDY), which can also be divided into parts as deemed necessary by the medical provider. Military members can undergo treatment at any one of six fertility treatment facilities:
- Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD
- Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI
- Womack Army Medical Center, Fayetteville, NC
- Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA
- San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX
- Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, CA
“Infertility takes a huge toll, not only physically and emotionally, but financially. Being able to go PTDY for treatments will help ease some of the stress associated with the process by allowing time off work to focus on our life goals,” says U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kristy Negron.
Department of Air Force couples also now have options for starting and continuing their families. As of March 1, military-to-military families now have the option to request separation for either parent for up to 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child. Caregiver and childbirth separation allow both parents an opportunity to navigate parenthood and learn to balance their careers and families. Therefore, they can continue to contribute to the mission of DAF without separation.
“This new family-friendly policy recognizes the work-life balance our Guardians seek and provides greater opportunity for choice,” said Patricia Mulcahy, deputy chief of space operations for human capital.
This policy is in addition to the pregnancy separation, allowing for voluntary separation prior to the birth of a child, and childbirth separation, which allows for voluntary separation for up to 12 months after the birth of a child.
Mission critical assignments will continue, so to balance work and family, only one spouse will have the opportunity to separate under the pregnancy, childbirth, and caregiver program. However, spouses may be eligible to opt for voluntary separation under hardship or other reasons listed under AFI 36-3208, administrative separation of Airmen and AFI 36-3207, separating Commissioned Officers. Other ways to request are to apply under caregiver separation under the miscellaneous reason” policy but is approved or not based on merit or needs of the DAF.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense has implemented another initiative expected to roll out in the coming months. The new initiative includes new parental leave guidance authorized in the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), eliminating the primary and secondary caregiver designations and provides up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents. Find more information about all changes to DAFI 36-3003 and personnel programs.
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. April 13, 2022. DAF updates leave program; includes support for fertility treatments, transition assistance programs. www.af.mil. Accessed May 9, 2022. DAF updates leave program; includes support for fertility treatments, transition assistance programs > Air Force > Article Display
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. March 8, 2022. Mil-to-mil couples gain time to make separation decision after childbirth. www.af.mil. Accessed May 10, 2022. Mil-to-mil couples gain time to make separation decision after childbirth > Air Force > Article Display