Initiative to help wounded warriors started at Cherry Point chapter

An initiative that started with Federal Managers Association Chapter No. 21 at Cherry Point to provide sick leave for wounded warriors is now law.

President Barack Obama signed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act into law on Nov. 5. The law provides 104 hours of sick leave up front to first-year federal employees who quality under the Department of Veterans Affairs as 30 percent or more disabled due to a service-related disability. Previously, such employees started their careers in the federal workforce with a zero balance of sick leave and thus sometimes exhausted both sick and annual leave to attend medical appointments related to their service injuries, according to a release from the national Federal Managers Association.

“As the federal government continues to strive to be a model employer, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act will provide the care these veterans need and deserve while ensuring federal departments’ and agencies’ missions and goals will be met,” Patricia Niehaus, FMA national president, said in a statement. “ … These brave men and women gave a tremendous sacrifice to the nation, and they chose to continue to serve their country. They should not have to choose between seeking necessary medical attention and exhausting leave.”

U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, introduced the legislation in the House, while Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

“I am also very grateful to Renee Johnson, FMA’s Region 2 director, Sue Thatch, chapter 21 vice president, and all of our members at chapter 21, Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, who brought this issue to our attention,” Niehaus said. “They exemplify the mission of our association – to advocate excellence in public service.”

The Cherry Point FMA chapter does not represent any official government agency such as Fleet Readiness Center East or Cherry Point. Its membership consists of federal employees from multiple agencies.

The national FMA was established in 1913 and represents the interests of about 200,000 executives, managers and supervisors employed by the federal government.