WASHINGTON – Veterans will have an additional 104 hours of sick leave to treat their service-connected issues during their first year of federal employment under legislation sent to President Obama for his signature.
The American Federation of Government Employees applauded Congress for swift passage of the legislation, called the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act. The House passed the bill on Sept. 28, and the Senate passed the House version on Oct. 26, sending it to the president for his signature.
“AFGE thanks Sen. Jon Tester of Montana for shepherding the bill through the Senate so quickly,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This bill will make the federal government a more supportive work environment for veterans transitioning out of military service. Too often, veterans are unfairly removed from federal service during their probationary periods. This helps level the playing field for them.”
The legislation will provide veterans who are 30% or more service-connected disabled with an additional 104 hours of sick leave for treating their service-connected issues during their first year of federal employment. Once the president has signed the bill into law, the Office of Personnel Management has nine months to implement it.
“Veterans should not have to face the difficult choice of missing a doctor’s appointment or risk losing their job,” Cox said.
The House bill, HR 313, was introduced in January by Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts with bipartisan support. The bipartisan Senate bill, S 242, was introduced in January by Tester and Jerry Moran of Kansas.