HOUSE REINTRODUCES WOUNDED WARRIORS FEDERAL LEAVE ACT - January 14, 2015
Alexandria, VA - The Federal Managers Association (FMA) is pleased to announce the reintroduction of legislation in the House of Representatives to address one of its top legislative priorities for 2015. On Tuesday, January 13, Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (H.R. 313), which would provide 104 hours of sick leave up front to first year federal employees who qualify under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Walter Jones (R-NC), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), 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 FMA by our members from Chapter 21, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. FMA National President Patricia Niehaus released the following statement on the introduction of H.R. 313.
"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. H.R. 313 would ensure those who qualify as thirty percent disabled or greater by the VA will receive enough sick leave in 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. H.R. 313 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. The federal government should strive to be a model employer, and acknowledging the needs of these men and women does so.
"FMA thanks Representative Lynch for his continued work on this issue, along with Representatives Farenthold, Butterfield, and Cummings, Connolly, Jones, and Norton, for their dedication to the federal workforce and disabled veterans. We are also very grateful to Region 2 Director Renee Johnson and the members of 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 is eager to have the bill reintroduced in the Senate as well, and will continue to move this important matter forward."