Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015

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If you’re a veteran with a service-connected disability, you now have one more reason to consider becoming a federal civilian employee (or Federali as I like to call them). On November 5th, 2015, President Obama signed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 into law. The new law allots up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave for newly hired (on or after November 5th, 2016) federal civilian employees who are veterans with a 30 percent service-connected disability to use during their first year of service for the purpose of attending medical appointments related to their disability (for which sick leave could normally be used).

The new leave category is limited to new employees who are covered under Title 5 leave provisions. Although Title 5 provisions cover most federal employees, not all are covered under its leave provisions. For example, the new law excludes some employees at the FAA and the TSA who are covered under Title 49. Newly hired military technicians covered under Title 32, and VA employees covered under Title 38 would also be excluded from receiving the new leave allowance. Current federal employees will not be eligible for the new leave category.

The new disabled veteran leave can only be used during the employee’s initial 12 months of employment. When using disabled veteran leave, new feds will have to submit documentation from a medical provider certifying the leave was used for the purposes of receiving treatment for the service-connected disability.

For the [federal] HR folks, OPM published the following initial information:

Agencies will be required to establish a new separate leave category to be available to eligible employees. The new leave will need to be maintained separately from normally accrued sick leave.

Additionally, agencies will need to have a disabled veteran leave policy in place by November 5th, 2016.

Agency policy-makers can expect further guidance from OPM within the next nine-months regarding the implementation of the new leave category for newly hired veterans within their agencies.

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