Military Legislation

Bill would grant immediate sick leave to newly hired vets

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Washington – Disabled veterans who have been newly hired to positions in the federal government could receive immediate access to sick leave as part of a proposed House bill.

The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (H.R. 5229) was voted out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Sept. 17 but did not progress further before Congress left for fall recess two days later.

The bill calls for veterans who have service-connected disabilities to be eligible for as much as 104 hours of sick leave during a 12-month period beginning on the first day of work.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, praised the bill in a letter to its sponsor, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). Kelley said the bill had the full support of NTEU, the nation’s largest independent federal union, which represents about 150,000 employees in 31 federal agencies and departments.

“It has a lot of support, but it is unclear whether it will get further consideration during the lame-duck session,” Kelley said in a statement to Safety+Health magazine. “We hope it will.”