Bipartisan Bill to Expand Paid Sick Leave for Veterans Hired by the FAA Sails Through Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today successfully advanced 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.

The FAA Veteran Transition Improvement Act was unanimously reported out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration.

“The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act recognizes that no one who has sustained an injury due to military service should have to choose between earning a paycheck and receiving healthcare,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “However, due to an unintended loophole in that legislation, employees of the Federal Aviation Administration are not able to use these new benefits. With the support of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee behind the bipartisan FAA Veteran Transition Improvement Act, the laudable work started by the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act is one step closer to becoming a reality.”

“Veterans who join the FAA workforce should not be penalized for attending medical appointments for their service-related injuries. The more than 15,000 veterans currently employed at the FAA bring invaluable experience and deserve parity with their counterparts in other federal agencies. I am glad our colleagues realize the importance of moving forward with Rep. Larsen and my bipartisan fix to this loophole in existing law. We will continue to closely work to bring our bill to the House floor for a vote,” said LoBiondo, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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.

Between 2012 and 2016, the FAA hired between 150-350 veterans with a 30% or more disability rating each year. 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.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Federal Managers Association, FAA Managers Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, American Federation of Government Employees, American Legion, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Paralyzed Veterans of America all support this legislation.