WASHINGTON, D.C.—Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today introduced bipartisan legislation to close a loophole that prevents veterans hired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from receiving paid sick leave benefits recently made available by the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015.
“Being forced to choose between earning a paycheck or receiving healthcare is a moral injustice – and all the more so if that healthcare is required due to injuries sustained during military service,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This legislation would help ensure that newly hired disabled veteran FAA employees are no longer faced with that choice.”
“Veterans working at the FAA should not be penalized for attending medical appointments for their service-related injuries. Our bipartisan fix to this loophole in a well-intentioned law will ensure equal treatment of the more than 15,000 veterans employed by the FAA across the country. I appreciate Congressman Larsen’s continued leadership and partnership with me on these critical issues and urge my colleagues to support our efforts on behalf of these veterans,” said LoBiondo.
Currently, there are more than 650 veterans in Washington state, 245 veterans in New Jersey and 15,500 veterans nationally who work for the FAA.
The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 made up to 104 hours of paid sick leave available to most newly hired veteran federal employees with service-connected conditions rated as 30% or more disabled for the purposes of attending medical treatment related to these conditions. However, due to a loophole in the law, veterans hired by the FAA are ineligible for these new benefits.
Larsen and LoBiondo’s bill would close that loophole by requiring the FAA to prescribe policy and procedures that ensure disabled veterans have access to the new disabled veteran sick leave benefits that their counterparts in other agencies receive.
The Federal Managers Association, FAA Managers Association, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, American Legion and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists all support this legislation.