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Legislative Updates

Senate introduces companion ‘wounded warriors’ act

On Dec. 11, Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced S. 3001, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, which seeks to provide first-year federal workers with service-related disabilities 104 hours of sick leave to use for medical visits. Currently, first-year government workers accrue only four hours of sick leave each pay period, forcing many veterans with disabilities to take unpaid leave because they have not yet built up enough leave time.

While the legislation is similar to the House’s H.R. 5229, which was introduced this summer (see the Aug. 1 Legislative Update), there are a couple of small differences between the two versions. The Senate bill includes specific language ensuring coverage of postal employees who are not under Title V and allows the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) a year to finalize its regulations, as opposed to the six months proposed in the House version.

“Men and women who serve our country in battle and again for a federal agency shouldn’t be reaching into their own pockets to treat service-related injuries,” Tester said. “Many of these injuries require time-consuming care, and this common-sense bill makes sure veterans can get the care they need while better honoring our commitment to those who wear the uniform.”

“Service-disabled veterans who have served our nation with duty and honor deserve peace of mind when transitioning into the federal workforce and civilian life,” Moran said. “The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act will help make sure certain veterans can pursue a career in the federal government and support their families while also addressing their medical treatment needs.”

Unfortunately, given the constraints of the House and Senate calendars, the legislation did not receive full consideration in the 113th Congress. Tester and Moran plan to reintroduce their bill in the 114th Congress.

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