WASHINGTON – The passage of the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, H.R. 313, signals new gains for veterans with service-connected disabilities in the federal sector. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) strongly supports this legislation that will provide service-connected disabled veterans with an additional 104 hours of sick leave for treating their service-connected issues during their first year of federal employment.
“No veteran should have to choose between their medical appointments and a paycheck,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “As the largest employer of veterans in the nation, the federal government has to lead by example. Passage of the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act shows that we take our responsibility to our veterans seriously, and other employers should follow.”
In a letter to lawmakers, AFGE Legislative and Political Director Beth Moten wrote, “Our veteran members have told us the lack of accrued sick leave can create a serious hardship when they first begin their federal service since they must maintain their regular medical appointments while worrying that they are requesting more sick leave than they have accrued.”
“Veterans must be commended for entering the federal civil service after protecting and serving our nation as service members," added AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee. "AFGE believes that the bipartisan Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act recognizes the continued service of veterans who enter the federal workforce and eases some of the challenges of transitioning back into civilian life."
A Senate version of H.R. 313 was passed in July. The two bills have several technical differences which will need to be addressed before it is sent to President Obama for his signature.