Paid Sick Leave for New Veteran Federal Employees:
2015 beginning saw a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress that would give service-disabled veterans 104 hours of paid sick time after they enter the federal workforce under The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act. Non-veteran employees begin with none and accrue hours over time.
Representative Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), who sponsored the bill, said that new veteran employees, many of whom return from duty with illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder and other health issues, often start their jobs without paid sick leave and find it hard to fit in time for medical appointments to treat their service-related disabilities. They have to sometimes let go of these appointments or take unpaid leave to go see their doctor, which results in significant lost income. Lynch said that it was unacceptable that veterans 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 health appointments or miss their medical visits.
Six other members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation: Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Del. Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.).
The House bill would apply to former troops who qualify as 30 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are in their first year of work with a federal agency. The legislation would also allow veterans to carry over any of the 104 hours they do not use in a given year.
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