Veterans who can't get paid sick-leave benefits if they're hired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are likely to have access soon.

A South Jersey-sponsored bill to close an administrative loophole has been approved by the House of Representatives.

Congressman Frank Lobiondo (NJ-2), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, is one of four cosponsors of the bipartisan FAA Veteran Transition Improvement Act, which has as its prime sponsor Democrat Rick Larsen (WA-2), the Subcommittee's ranking member.

Photo: Don P. Hurley

The measure opens availability for paid sick-leave benefits stipulated under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, which in its details excluded FAA workers.

The 2015 law gives most new federal workers with veterans' status up to 104 paid sick-leave hours, provided that service-connected conditions place their disability levels at 30 percent or more for treatment purposes.

The Larsen-LoBiondo's bill would require the FAA to form policies that ensure access to the same benefits.

Lobiondo said that the FAA hired as many as 350 veterans with disability ratings of 30 percent or higher betwen 2012 and 2016. New Jersey has 245 veterans working for the FAA, among roughly 15,000 nationwide.

A Lobiondo spokesman said that the Senate, which earlier this year passed its FAA reauthorization bill, would likely approve the House measure as well.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Federal Managers Association, FAA Managers Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, American Federation of Government Employees, American Legion, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, National Air Traffic Controllers Association and Paralyzed Veterans of America all support this legislation.

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