Service-disabled veterans who become federal employees would start their careers with paid sick leave available, under legislation passed unanimously by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Sept. 17.
Currently, there is no special accommodation for such employees. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act would give service-disabled 104 hours starting out, instead of starting from zero and accruing more leave as federal employees currently do.
The bill’s sponsors said that a lack of sick leave unfairly hurts veteran efforts at getting regular medical care and in treating injuries. The employee must be 30 percent disabled to qualify. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and cosponsored by Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
The sick leave provided would not carry over into the second year and veterans would still accrue sick leave normally.
Patricia Niehaus, president of the Federal Managers Association (FMA), which helped create the legislation, said many veterans suffer chronic service-related injuries and end up struggling to attend needed medical appointments.
“FMA members have seen first-hand the stress this creates in the work environment, as both managers and employees try to meet congressionally-mandated missions and goals,” Niehaus said in a statement. “As these disabled veterans served their country on and off the battlefield, it is only right that the federal government provide this much needed leave.”
See Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) September 17, 2014 Press Release: