Disabled Vets Hired as Feds Get Advance Sick Leave

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Disabled veterans hired as federal employees now have access to their full year’s sick leave immediately upon starting their jobs.

President Obama has signed into law the 2015 Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, which gives 104 hours of sick leave up front to first-year feds who are vets with a service-connected disability rating of at least 30 percent to attend medical appointments related to their disability. During their first year on the job, those vets would still accumulate their normal sick leave. The employees would only be able to use their extra sick leave for treatments directly related to their service and would not be able to carry over the one-time “wounded warrior leave” after the first 12 months on the job.

Prior to the legislation, full-time federal workers in their first year on the job did not have access to sick leave when they started, accruing four hours of such leave per pay period. That amounts to a balance of 104 hours at the end of their first year. But disabled vets, who must attend regular medical appointments to maintain their health, and also to continue receiving their veterans’ benefits, quickly burn up their sick leave, according to the Federal Managers Association, which lobbied for the legislation. Many vets also have to travel far to reach the nearest Veterans Affairs Department facility to receive treatment, which can eat up leave time.

The bipartisan bill had wide support in both chambers of Congress.

“As we approach Veterans Day, I am grateful that the federal government is meeting the needs of these wounded warriors, whose lives will be positively impacted by this legislation,” said FMA National President Patricia Niehaus, in a statement. 

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