Tester, Moran introduce Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act

Senators’ bill ensures veterans who work in government can get needed care

(U.S. Senate) – Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) this week introduced bipartisan legislation to make sure wounded veterans who work for the federal government can get the medical care they need.

Tester and Moran’s bill, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, would provide first-year federal workers who have service-related disabilities 104 hours of sick leave to use for medical visits.

Currently, first-year government workers accrue four hours of sick leave each pay period, forcing many veterans with disabilities to take unpaid leave because they have not built up the necessary leave time.

“Men and women who serve our country in battle and again for a federal agency shouldn’t be reaching into their own pockets to treat service-related injuries,” Tester said. “Many of these injuries require time-consuming care, and this common-sense bill makes sure veterans can get the care they need while better honoring our commitment to those who wear the uniform.”

“Service-disabled veterans who have served our nation with duty and honor deserve peace of mind when transitioning into the federal workforce and civilian life,” Moran said. “The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act will help make sure certain veterans can pursue a career in the federal government and support their families while also addressing their medical treatment needs.”

The bill supports first-year federal employees with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more. It would cover first-year employees whether their disability occurred in combat or not.

Tester and Moran’s bill is supported by the Federal Managers Association, The American Legion, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National Treasury Employees Union, Disabled American Veterans, the Federal-Postal Coalition, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Assocation, and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.

“Newly hired disabled veterans should not be left to choose between taking unpaid leave to care for their injuries, or forgoing that care altogether. The VFW would like to thank Senators Tester and Moran for introducing the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2014 which eliminates a barrier to the medical care that disabled veterans need and deserve,” VFW National Legislative Director Raymond Kelley said.

Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) introduced a similar bill, H.R. 5229, in the House.

Tester and Moran are members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Tester-Moran Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act by Dan Malessa