Thursday, August 04, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be issuing final regulations on August 5th to implement the newly created disabled veteran leave category. Established under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Wounded Warriors Act), disabled veteran leave will be available to any Federal employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more. The Wounded Warriors Act established the effective date of implementation one year after passage of the Act, which will be November 5, 2016.
“This rule ensures the Federal Government supports our service members who have sacrificed their own health and well-being to serve our country. We know this is something they need,” said Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert. “We want these veterans to have sufficient leave during their first year of Federal service in order to take care of any medical issues related to their service-connected disability,” added Cobert.
Disabled veteran leave is available as a one-time benefit during a 12-month period beginning on an eligible employee’s “first day of employment” and may not exceed 104 hours for a regular full-time employee. Disabled veteran leave can only be used for undergoing medical treatment of a qualifying service-connected disability, which was incurred or aggravated in the line of active duty.
Eligible employees must be “hired” on or after November 5, 2016. OPM regulations define the term “hired” to include:
- Newly hired with no previous Federal service;
- Reappointed with at least a 90-day break in service; and
- Military reservists or members of the National Guard who return to duty in their civilian positions after a period of military service
While current Federal employees who were hired before November 5, 2016 are not eligible for disabled veteran leave, the Federal Government offers a wide range of leave options and workplace flexibilities to assist employees who need to be away from the workplace, including disabled veterans who must take time off from work to receive medical treatment for their service-connected disabilities.
In the coming weeks, OPM will be providing an information session to all agencies to ensure they are prepared to implement this new leave category.