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Legislative Updates

Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015

President Obama has signed into law the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015. This law provides to federal employees who are also disabled military veterans 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 bill was passed unanimously by both chambers of Congress, the Senate in July (S. 242) and the House of Representatives in September (H.R. 313). It will apply to all those who work for the U.S. Postal Service, the largest civilian employer of veterans.

Prior to this law’s enactment, first-year federal workers accrued only four hours of sick leave each pay period, something that forced many military veterans with disabilities to take unpaid leave because they had not yet built up enough leave time.

Now, newly hired military veterans with a disability rating of 30 percent or more receive 13 days (104 hours) of sick leave for medical treatment associated with their disability.

“Veterans who choose to continue their public service shouldn't be forced to take unpaid leave to get the treatment they need,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), the sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “This bill helps ensure veterans don’t lose pay because they need to see a doctor.”

“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,” added Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), the sponsor of the bill in the House.

The law should go into effect within one year of Nov. 5, the date of enactment.

NALC appreciates the hardship endured and the sacrifices made by military veterans, and the union is glad that Congress and the White House have taken this step to support them and to provide this benefit to them.

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