Congressman John K. Delaney has authored an op-ed in the Huffington Post on his new bipartisan legislation to expedite medical leave for working disabled veterans.
This month, Delaney introduced the Medical Leave for Disabled Veterans Act, which accelerates access to protected medical leave for disabled veterans.
America’s disabled veterans answered our country’s call and when their time in uniform is done, our country must stand with them. One of the key issues all veterans face is making the transition to a civilian career, and for veterans who need extra medical attention this can be even more difficult.
Last week, I filed bipartisan legislation with my colleague Congressman Chris Gibson to expedite protected medical leave eligibility for disabled veterans. Congressman Gibson served in the Army for 24 years and completed four combat tours in Iraq, and I’m proud to work with him on this critical issue. Our bill, The Medical Leave for Disabled Veterans Act, has a straightforward goal that the American people overwhelmingly support: helping working disabled veterans receive health care and provide for their families.
Under current law, disabled veterans — as well as all other workers at businesses with over 50 employees — become eligible for job-protected unpaid medical leave only after they have been employed for a year under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Given that disabled veterans often have additional health care needs, this can make working difficult. This problem was brought to my attention by a constituent, who shared his story with my office. As we did more research and spoke with veterans advocates, it became clear this was a major problem across the state and nationwide. While many employers do the right thing and provide flexible schedules for disabled veterans, I felt that it was important to provide all disabled veterans with a solution that would help them have access to medical leave.
Here’s how our bill works: we accelerate the eligibility process for disabled veterans. Under the Medical Leave for Disabled Veterans Act, disabled veterans will no longer have to wait a year to be guaranteed the time off they need. Instead, veterans with a disability rating of 30-50% will be able to take medical leave after eight months on the job and veterans with a disability rating of over 50% can do so after six months. I think this is the right thing to do, striking a proper balance.
The Medical Leave for Disabled Veterans Act has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association and the Military Veterans Advocacy. In crafting this legislation we worked closely with veterans groups and received their input on how to improve the bill. I am humbled and honored to have their support. When these organizations speak, Congress should listen.