House and Senate lawmakers have introduced legislation that would make life a lot easier for federal employees who also are disabled veterans. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act would give 104 hours of sick leave up front to new federal employees who are veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or greater. This sick leave could only be used for treatments directly related to their service and cannot be carried over into the second year.
Currently, federal employees start out their federal careers with a zero sick leave balance and accrue four hours of such leave per pay period. As a result, feds who are disabled veterans do not have enough sick leave to attend regular medical appointments to treat their service-connected disabilities.
The bill sailed through the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Tuesday.
“It is unacceptable that our Wounded Warrior federal employees who are just starting out in the federal workforce are often faced with the difficult choice of having to take unpaid leave to attend their VA appointments or miss their medical visits,” said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., one of the sponsors of the House bill.
Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Jerry Moran of Kansas agreed. They re-introduced the bi-partisan Senate bill last week.
AFGE supports the legislation and urges Congress to promptly pass the bills, which would also help veterans keep their jobs.