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Legislative Updates

Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act

This week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, H.R. 313, which provides federal employees who are also disabled military veterans with 104 hours of designated “wounded warrior leave” during their first year in the federal workforce. This leave is designated to allow veterans to seek medical treatment for their service-related disabilities, and is counted as separate from traditional sick and annual leave.

The Senate’s companion bill, S. 242, passed in July, also unanimously.

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. Under both bills, newly hired veterans with a disability rating of 30 percent or more would receive 13 days (104 hours) of sick leave for medical treatment associated with their disability. This would also apply to all Postal Service employees.

“The bipartisan passage of the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act signifies our commitment to the dedicated wounded warriors continuing their service to our country by entering the federal workforce,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Security and original sponsor of the bill. “As wounded warriors transition to civilian life through new careers in the federal workforce, they should not be saddled with the burden of no sick leave, which hinders their ability to keep service-related, medically-necessary appointments.” 

The two bills must next be reconciled before moving to the president’s desk for approval.

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