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New work leave law for wounded vets has its limits

Congress enacted and President Obama signed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 this year. The purpose of the measure is meant to ensure that many new federal government workers who have a service-related disability the time off from their jobs in order to get all the care they need to make as full a recovery as they can.

As generous as the bill may be it's important for those who might want to take advantage of the benefits to understand that it does have some limitations. And to ensure the rights granted by law are delivered, consulting an experienced attorney may be helpful.

As we have noted, this law got the president's signature on Nov. 5 of this year. So that presents the first caveat of note. Under the terms of the bill, it applies only to veterans who are hired into the federal government system on or after Nov. 5, 2016.

Presuming that hurdle is cleared, the law grants one full year of sick leave to the employee up front so that the veteran can be assured that he or she will be able to set and make medical appointments for their service-related disability with pay and not fear repercussion from managers. But here another precondition exists. The worker has to have a service-related disability rating of 30 percent or more to qualify.

Another provision of the law stipulates that it does not apply to all employees. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission employees may be covered, but workers identified as non-title 5 are not covered. So workers hired by the Federal Aviation Administration or Transportation Security Administration would not be eligible for the benefit.

Federal employment laws are complicated. Navigating them can be a challenge. But help is available.

Source: Government Executive, "Disabled Veteran Leave Law Only Applies to New Title 5 Feds," Kellie Lunney, Nov. 25, 2015

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