The Air Force plans to launch a pilot program later this year that would allow female and male airmen to leave active-duty to start a family and return three years later, Air Force Times reports.
Initially, just 40 airmen would be in the program, which would see participants transitioning into the Individual Ready Reserve for what is referred to as the Career Intermission Pilot Program.
“Some women leave the Air Force because they want to start a family,” Lt. Gen. Samuel Cox said Thursday, according to the Times. “So why don’t we have a program that allows them, in some cases, to be able to separate from the Air Force for a short period of time, get their family started, and then come back in?”
The time away from the workplace is notable, as U.S. law only requires most companies grant up to 12 unpaid weeks off for post-birth leave time. In the U.K., maternity leave comes with pay, and can be up to 280 days, according to Huffington Post.
The Navy instituted a similar program in 2009, which was recently extended under the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act.
Specifics of the Air Force’s program were not released, but the Navy’s program allowed three years off, retention of full health and dental coverage, continued commissary and base shopping privileges, and a payment of a small reserve stipend.
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