Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                      Calendar No. 160
114th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {       114-89
                                                                 
_______________________________________________________________________


                     WOUNDED WARRIORS FEDERAL LEAVE

                              ACT OF 2015

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                 S. 242

         TO AMEND TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, TO PROVIDE LEAVE
          TO ANY NEW FEDERAL EMPLOYEE WHO IS A VETERAN WITH A
          SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY RATED AT 30 PERCENT OR
MORE FOR PURPOSES OF UNDERGOING MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR SUCH DISABILITY, 
                         AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]


                 July 23, 2015.--Ordered to be printed
                 
                                   ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

49-010                       WASHINGTON : 2015                
                 
    
    
    
    
    
                 
                 
                 
                 
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                    RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin Chairman
JOHN McCAIN, Arizona                 THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio                    CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
RAND PAUL, Kentucky                  JON TESTER, Montana
JAMES LANKFORD, Oklahoma             TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming             HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire          CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
JONI ERNST, Iowa                     GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
BEN SASSE, Nebraska

                    Keith B. Ashdown, Staff Director
                  Christopher R. Hixon, Chief Counsel
       Patrick J. Bailey, Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs
              Gabrielle A. Batkin, Minority Staff Director
           John P. Kilvington, Minority Deputy Staff Director
               Mary Beth Schultz, Minority Chief Counsel
             Katherine C. Sybenga, Minority Senior Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                                                       Calendar No. 160
114th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {       114-89

======================================================================



 
               WOUNDED WARRIORS FEDERAL LEAVE ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

                 July 23, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Johnson, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 242]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 242) to amend title 
5, United States Code, to provide leave to any new Federal 
employee who is a veteran with a service-connected disability 
rated at 30 percent or more for purposes of undergoing medical 
treatment for such disability, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................3
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............6

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    S. 242, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, 
seeks to provide federal employees who are veterans with a 
service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more with 
up to 104 hours of leave to undergo medical treatment for such 
disability during the first year of their employment with the 
federal government. The additional leave does not roll over and 
the employee must certify that the leave was used in connection 
with treatment of the service-connected disability.

              II. Background and the Need for Legislation

    Under current law, full-time federal employees accrue four 
hours of sick leave for each full bi-weekly pay period, 
amounting to a total of 104 hours, or 13 days, of annual sick 
leave.\1\ While unused sick leave may be carried over from year 
to year, first-year full-time federal employees start their 
careers in the federal workforce with no hours of sick leave 
available. A federal agency may grant advanced sick leave to a 
federal employee, up to 240 hours, yet this leave must be paid 
back by the employee.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\5 U.S.C. Sec. 6307.
    \2\5 C.F.R. Sec. 630.402.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lack of initial sick leave for full-time federal 
workers can be onerous for disabled veterans. At the Marine 
Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina, for example, 
a federal manager noted that an employee within his or her 
first year of federal employment with a disability rating from 
the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) used 30 hours of sick 
leave within the first three months of the year. If this rate 
were to remain constant, 120 hours would be required for the 
entire year. Moreover, VA medical facilities are not always 
centrally located, forcing patients to drive hours to seek 
medical attention.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Mooney, C., et al. Is travel distance a barrier to veterans' use 
of VA hospitals for medical surgical care?, Social Science & Medicine, 
50(12), 1743-55 (July 2000).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Federal agencies employ nine percent of the veteran 
workforce.\4\ According to the Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM), in fiscal year 2013, 7.6 percent of the 162,839 new 
hires, including part-time and full-time, as well as seasonal 
and non-seasonal, were rated by the VA as having disabilities 
connected with their military service that make them 30 percent 
or more disabled.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release: ``Employment Situation 
of Veterans--2014,'' Mar. 18, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/
pdf/vet.pdf, last accessed May 22, 2015.
    \5\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Federal Managers Association has reported that 
``[w]hile federal employees can be advanced leave and banks are 
available, it often does not cover what is needed to meet these 
medical requirements for chronic disabilities and they are 
forced to take leave without pay.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Federal Managers Association Issue Brief: ``Investing in the 
Federal Workforce--2015,'' 
http://www.fedmanagers.org/FMA/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/
000000000608/Investing%20in%20the%20Federal%20Workforce%202015.pdf, 
last accessed May 22, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 would 
address the lack of initial sick leave for disabled veterans by 
providing up to 104 hours of additional sick leave for federal 
employees who are disabled veterans during their first year of 
employment for the treatment of conditions related to their 
prior service in the military. The additional leave may only be 
used during the first year of employment with the federal 
government and does not rollover into succeeding years.

                        III. Legislative History

    S. 242, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, was 
introduced on January 22, 2015, by Senators Tester and Moran 
and the bill was then referred to the Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs. The Committee considered the 
bill at a March 4, 2015, business meeting and ordered the bill 
reported favorably en bloc by voice vote. Members present for 
the vote were Senators Johnson, Portman, Lankford, Ayotte, 
Ernst, Carper, McCaskill, Baldwin, Heitkamp, and Peters.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the bill's short title, the ``Wounded 
Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015.''

Section 2. Additional leave for federal employees who are disabled 
        veterans

    Section 2(a) adds a new section (6329) to Subchapter II of 
chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code, to add a category of 
``Other Paid Leave'' referred to as ``Disabled veteran leave'' 
and to govern its use by federal employees.
    New Section 6329(a) defines the terms employee, service-
connected, and veteran.
    New Section 6329(b) provides that during the first 12 
months of employment with the federal government, a veteran 
with a service-connected disability rated 30 percent or more by 
the VA is entitled to leave without loss or reduction in pay, 
but only for undergoing medical treatment for such disability 
that sick leave would normally be used.
    New Section 6329(c) limits such sick leave provided under 
6329(b) to 104 hours and provides that such sick leave is not 
carried over at the end of the first year of employment and is 
forfeited.
    New Section 6329(d) requires the employee to certify that 
they are using the leave for treatment of their service-
connected disability in order to receive it.
    Section 2(b) provides a technical and conforming amendment 
to the tables in chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code.
    Section 2(c) provides a timeline for implementation of one 
year after the date of enactment of this Act.
    Section 2(d) requires that within one year of enactment, 
the Postmaster General and the Director of OPM prescribe 
regulations to provide the additional leave and to brief 
Congress on a quarterly basis during the first year after 
enactment.

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the rules. The Committee agrees with the Congressional 
Budget Office's statement that the bill contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no costs 
on state, local, or tribal governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                    March 30, 2015.
Hon. Ron Johnson, Chairman,
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 242, the Wounded 
Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dan Ready.
            Sincerely,
                                             Douglas W. Elmendorf. 
    Enclosure.

S. 242--Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015

    Summary: S. 242 would provide additional sick leave to 
veterans with a disability rated at 30 percent or greater who 
are newly hired by the federal government. That additional 
leave would have to be used for treatment of the employee's 
disability and would expire one year after it became available 
to the employee. CBO estimates that implementing S. 242 would 
cost $55 million over the next five years, subject to 
appropriation of the necessary funds. That cost represents the 
value of the additional sick leave that CBO estimates would be 
provided to newly hired veterans. In some cases that additional 
leave would lead to additional spending by agencies; in other 
cases agencies would lose the value of the work of the people 
using the additional days of leave.
    Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation 
because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 242 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of S. 242 is shown in the following table. The 
costs of this legislation fall in all budget functions except 
function 900 (net interest) and 950 (offsetting receipts).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   2015     2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2015-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level..................        0        3       14       15       15       16        63
Estimated Outlays..............................        0        2        9       14       15       16        55
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes S. 242 
will be enacted late in fiscal year 2015 and the amounts 
estimated to be needed will be appropriated each year.
    The legislation would provide a maximum of 104 hours of 
additional sick leave to veterans with a disability rated at 30 
percent or greater who are newly hired by the federal 
government. The bill specifies that the additional leave would 
become available for employees hired one year or more after the 
date of enactment. That additional leave would have to be used 
for treatment of the employee's disability and would expire one 
year after it became available to the employee.
    In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order 
establishing the Veterans Employment Initiative, which was 
designed to increase federal hiring of veterans. According to 
the Veterans Employment Council, the proportion of newly hired 
federal workers who are veterans increased from 35 percent in 
2008 to 46 percent in 2013 (the most recent year for which data 
are available). During those years, the proportion of hired 
employees who are veterans with a disability rating of 30 
percent or greater also increased, from 5.5 percent to 10.7 
percent (from 7,000 to 11,000 employees per year). The rate of 
increase in hiring of disabled veterans has slowed recently, 
but CBO expects that about 8,000 to 9,000 disabled veterans 
will continue to be hired by the federal government each year 
through 2020.
    The potential budgetary effects of this bill derive from 
the use of additional sick leave. The Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) calculates that the average salary of new 
hires who are veterans with a disability rated at 30 percent or 
greater is $51,000. Data from OPM and research by the 
Congressional Research Service indicate that disabled veterans 
use more sick leave than other employees and that the temporary 
nature of the additional sick leave would encourage employees 
to use the benefit at a higher rate than regular leave. On 
average, CBO estimates that 60 percent of the leave made 
available under the bill would be used. Based on the 
anticipated number of new hires of disabled veterans, their 
average hourly rate, and their projected use of the additional 
sick leave that the bill would make available, CBO estimates 
that the legislation would cost $55 million over the 2015-2020 
period.
    How that additional cost would affect the federal budget is 
difficult to determine. Some of the disabled veterans who would 
be aided by this bill would, under current law, use annual 
leave to receive treatment for their disability; the provision 
of additional sick leave under the bill could mean that they 
have more accumulated leave when they separate from the 
government, which would lead to larger cash payments by the 
government at that time. Some government agencies might hire 
additional people or contract for additional services to make 
up for the lost output of the disabled workers who would take 
additional leave under the bill; that would raise federal costs 
in the near term, subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds. Some of the affected veterans would take more sick leave 
in total, and the agencies for which they work might not hire 
additional people or contract for additional services; in those 
cases, there would be no direct budgetary effect, but the 
government would lose the value of the work of those people on 
those additional days of sick leave. Therefore, although the 
additional cost would appear in different ways for disabled 
veterans and agencies in different circumstances, the 
government would nonetheless bear a cost for the additional 
leave that was taken.
    Pay-as-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 242 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Previous estimate: On March 4, 2015, CBO transmitted a cost 
estimate for H.R. 313, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act 
of 2015, as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform on January 27, 2015. H.R. 313 
is similar to S. 242, and the estimated budgetary effects are 
the same.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Dan Ready; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on the 
private sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 242 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

TITLE--GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--EMPLOYEES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBPART E--ATTENDANCE AND LEAVE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 63--LEAVE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subchapter II--Other Paid Leave

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 6329. Disabled veteran leave

    (a) Definitions.--In this section--
          (1) notwithstanding section 6301, the term 
        ``employee''--
                  (A) has the meaning given such term in 
                section 2105; and
                  (B) includes an officer or employee of the 
                United States Postal Service or of the Postal 
                Regulatory Commission;
          (2) the term ``service-connected'' has the meaning 
        given such term in section 101(16) of title 38; and
          (3) the term ``veteran'' has the meaning given such 
        term in section 101(2) of title 38.
    (b) Leave Credited.--During the 12-month period beginning 
on the first day of the employment of an employee who is a 
veteran with a service-connected disability rated as 30 percent 
or more disabling, the employee is entitled to leave, without 
loss or reduction in pay, for purposes of undergoing medical 
treatment for such disability for which sick leave could 
regularly be used.
    (c) Limitations.--
          (1) Amount of leave.--The leave credited to an 
        employee under subsection (b) may not exceed 104 hours.
          (2) No carry over.--Any leave credited to an employee 
        under subsection (b) that is not used during the 12-
        month period described in such subsection may not be 
        carried over and shall be forfeited.
    (d) Certification.--In order to verify that leave credited 
to an employee under subsection (b) is used for treating a 
service-connected disability, the employee shall submit to the 
head of the employing agency a certification, in such form and 
manner as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management 
may prescribe, that the employee used the leave for purposes of 
being furnished treatment for the disability by a health care 
provider.

                                  [all]