Newly proposed legislation will make it possible for wounded Veterans, newly hired by the federal government, to start their jobs with multiple weeks of paid sick leave.
On January 13, 2015, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch introduced H.R. 313. The bill would amend Title 5, United States Code, providing paid leave to any new federal employee who is a service–disabled Veteran, rated at a minimum of 30% disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The measure, if passed, would give service-disabled Veterans 104 hours of paid sick time after they enter the federal workforce. New federal employees who are not service-disabled Veterans begin their federal careers with zero hours of sick time, and accrue hours over time. The bill would also allow the Veterans to carry over any of the 104 hours they do not use in a given year.
“It is unacceptable that our wounded warrior federal employees, who are just starting out in the federal workforce, are often faced with the difficult choice of having to take unpaid leave to attend their VA appointments or miss their medical visits,” said Rep. Lynch.
Along with Lynch, six additional members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors: Representatives G.K. Butterfield (NC), Gerry Connolly (VA), Elijah Cummings (MD), Blake Farenthold (TX), Walter Jones (NC), and Delegate Eleanor Norton (DC).
“These men and women have made incredible sacrifices to defend our freedom and have been wounded as a result,” Rep. Jones said in a statement. “They deserve an adequate amount of time to tend to their wounds while beginning a new chapter in their careers after they leave the military.”
The proposed legislation has also been backed by the Federal Managers Association. Representative from the group have admitted to seeing first-hand the struggle that service-disabled Veterans have when trying to juggle the job with their necessary medical appointments. Compounding the problem is the narrow scheduling windows at VA medical facilities. The group feels that supporting this bill is the right thing to do.
Senators Jon Tester (MT) and Jerry Moran (TX) also plan to introduce similar legislation in the Senate soon.
You can keep track of H.R. 313 and other Veteran legislation at www.congress.gov or www.Govtrack.us. You are encouraged to contact your elected officials and let them know how you want them to vote on your behalf.
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