Military service personnel can incur injuries that are considerably different in nature to those commonly sustained throughout the civilian workforce. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act designates greater amounts of sick leave for veterans who are federal employees to make up for the accelerated rate of treatment their injuries can demand. Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) has rallied around the act, and recently voiced support for the legislation introduced by Rep Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) and Sen Jon Tester (D-Mont).
According to a statement from PVA, the bill, already passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, would allow service-disabled veterans who become federal employees to accumulate paid sick leave during treatment. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act would credit veterans with 104 hours as they begin their employment. The higher amount of available sick leave aims to compensate for the accelerated rate of sick leave veterans affected by service-incurred injury use to receive treatment for disabilities, especially when compared with non-veteran federal employees.
The bill is scheduled for a full House vote and, if passed, it will make its way to the Senate for further consideration.
“Paralyzed Veterans of America has long sought to level the playing field for veterans with disabling conditions who work, which most often involves removing disability as a barrier to substantive employment,” says Sherman Gillums, deputy executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America and director of the PAVE Program (Paving Access for Veterans Employment).
Gillums explains that if the bill is passed by Congress, it will allow veterans who are in transition or awaiting a VA disability rating to begin a good career while receiving regular medical care and treatment without penalty.
“Presently, newly hired veterans must be placed in ‘leave without pay’ status to keep appointments,” Gillums says, “But working a job versus receiving treatment for service-incurred conditions should not be an either-or proposition for those who’ve served.”
In a media release from PVA, Gillums states: “Paralyzed Veterans now calls on the House of Representatives to immediately consider and pass the ‘Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act’. We also call on the Senate to quickly take up and pass the companion bill—S 242.”
[Source: Paralyzed Veterans of America]