WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed H. R. 5229, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act. Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, introduced the bill on July 29, 2014. This bipartisan legislation would provide federal employees, who are also disabled veterans, with 104 hours of “Wounded Warrior leave” during their first year in the federal workforce so that they may seek medical treatment for their service-connected disabilities without being forced to take unpaid leave or forego their appointments altogether.

“I am very pleased that H.R. 5229 was passed out of committee on a bipartisan basis and I look forward to swift passage of this legislation on the House floor,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “Our disabled veterans are faced with a significant burden as they enter the federal workforce. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2014 provides our dedicated Wounded Warriors with the flexibility and opportunity to continue their medical treatment, as they transition to careers in the federal workforce and continue their much appreciated service to our country,” added Lynch. 

Newly hired federal employees begin their federal government careers with a zero sick leave balance. As a result, disabled veterans who have recently entered the federal workforce do not have sufficient sick leave to attend medical appointments to treat their service-connected disabilities on a regular basis. Many veterans are returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and other health issues. Congressman Lynch introduced this legislation to address the concerns raised by many veterans regarding the substantial burden placed on Wounded Warriors in the federal workforce who have to skip appointments, rather than miss work. The Wounded Warriors Leave Act of 2014 would provide first-year federal employees with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or greater with 104 hours of “Wounded Warriors leave” for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment for their service-connected disabilities.    

H.R. 5229 was recently endorsed by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the Disabled American Veterans. It is also strongly supported by the Federal-Postal Coalition, an organization representing nearly 5 million federal and postal workers and annuitants.       

The Wounded Warriors Leave Act of 2014 was approved and reported favorably to the House by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. H.R. 5229 was introduced by Congressman Lynch, alongside Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC). The bill will head to the House floor for further consideration.