SENATE INTRODUCES THE WOUNDED WARRIORS FEDERAL LEAVE ACT, AN FMA LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY - December 17, 2014
Alexandria, VA - The Federal Managers Association (FMA) applauds the introduction of legislation in the U.S. Senate to address one of its top legislative priorities. On Friday, December 12, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (S. 3001), which would provide 104 hours of sick leave up front to first year federal employees who qualify under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as thirty percent disabled due to a service-related injury. The bill is cosponsored by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), and would provide necessary leave to attend medical appointments for service-related injuries without exhausting both sick and annual leave. This issue was originally brought to light by our members at Chapter 21, Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. FMA National President Patricia Niehaus released the following statement on the legislation.
"The federal workforce is proud to be the largest employer of military veterans. Many of these dedicated men and women gave extreme sacrifices and suffer from chronic, life-changing conditions as a result. Unfortunately, as a first year federal employee starting with a zero-sum balance of sick leave, these brave men and women often find themselves struggling between available leave and attending medically necessary VA appointments. S. 3001 would ensure those who qualify as thirty percent disabled or greater by the VA will receive enough sick leave within their first twelve months of federal service.
"The legislation would provide these first year federal employees with 104 hours of sick leave up front, which cannot be carried over beyond their first twelve months of employment, to attend medical appointments for their service-related injury. S. 3001 recognizes that newly hired federal employees who are disabled veterans should not have to choose between seeking medical attention and exhausting any leave available. FMA members have seen first-hand the stress this creates in the work environment, as both managers and employees try to meet congressionally-mandated missions and goals. As these disabled veterans served their country on and off the battlefield, it is only right that the federal government provide this much needed leave.
"FMA is grateful for the work of Senators Tester and Moran for their dedication to the federal workforce and its disabled veterans. We are also very grateful to Renee Johnson, President of FMA Chapter 21 and newly-appointed Region 2 Director, and all of our members at Chapter 21, who brought this issue to our attention. They exemplify the mission of our Association - to advocate excellence in public service. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act will ensure that federal agencies and departments' missions and goals will be met while treating our disabled veteran first year federal employees with the treatment they deserve, and ensuring the federal government is a model employer. FMA will continue to work with Members of Congress to ensure the bill will be reintroduced when the 114th Congress convenes next month, but this legislation, along with the similar bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House (H.R. 5229) give us great momentum."