Senator Cornyn

Cornyn Bill Would Allow Servicemembers Time to Grieve Deceased Children

April 5, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bill to allow servicemembers time to grieve the death of their newborn babies.  The Elaine M. Checketts Military Families Act – named after the deceased daughter of Major Matthew Checketts, an Active Duty Airman based at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland – amends current leave policy for servicemembers so their pre-approved parental leave is not terminated in the tragic event of a child’s death.

“The grief of losing a child should not be aggravated or compounded by having to face the grief thousands of miles away from your family,” said Sen. Cornyn. “With this bill, I hope to keep at the forefront of our conversation the men and women who are heroically offering themselves, and indeed their very lives on some occasions, to protect against the threats to our country. Let’s work in good faith to get this bipartisan bill passed soon.”

Current Dept. of Defense policy dictates that a servicemember’s pre-approved parental leave ends upon the death of the child, requiring a servicemember to leave their family and immediately return to work.  The Elaine M. Checketts Military Family Act would amend this policy to allow servicemembers to take the rest of their pre-approved parental leave to grieve with their family.  The bill would bring parity for members of the military with other civilian federal employees, who already have the option to finish pre-approved parental leave following the death of a child.