The House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity today considered a bill introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) last fall that would strengthen job protections for wounded veterans returning from service. Braley is the highest ranking Democrat on the subcommittee.
The Disabled Veterans Employment Protection Act would provide military and National Guard veterans up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year to be treated for an injury incurred in or aggravated by military service without having to worry about losing their jobs. The legislation would also give injured or disabled veterans the option of using sick or vacation leave they have accrued to receive pay while getting treatment.
"Federal law protects the jobs of servicemen and women while they're serving our country," Braley said. "But there are no protections for injured veterans who need to seek treatment for their injuries once they return home. With thousands of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, it's time we strengthen protections and allow veterans the ability to seek out the care and treatment they need."
Representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Department of Veterans Affairs all testified in support of Braley's bill. A vote on the bill is expected in the coming weeks.