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Veterans with service-related disabilities would receive more than two weeks of sick leave for medical visits their first year on the job as a federal employee under bipartisan legislation introduced this week.

U.S. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., introduced the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act.

If passed, the measure would give first-year federal workers 104 hours of sick leave for medical visits stemming from a service-related disability.

“Men and women who serve our country in battle, and again for a federal agency, shouldn’t be reaching into their own pockets to treat service-related injuries,” Tester said. “Many of these injuries require time-consuming care, and this common-sense bill makes sure veterans can get the care they need.”

First-year federal workers currently receive four hours of sick leave for each pay period, Tester said. Since they have not accrued enough hours, many vets are forced to take unpaid leave to tend to service-related injuries.

Moran said the legislation would allow veterans to pursue careers with the federal government while addressing their medical needs. The bill is backed by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Federation of Government Employees, among others.

“Newly hired disabled veterans should not be left to choose between taking unpaid leave to care for their injuries or to forgo that care altogether,” said Raymond Kelley, the VFW’s national legislative director.

Tester said similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

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