To respond to health issues often suffered by military members who served on the battlefield, NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. recently joined with his Senate and Assembly colleagues to pass legislation (S.2911) providing eight days of additional paid leave for public employee combat veterans seeking medical services related to their duty.
“Combat veterans often see and experience horrors and injuries on the battlefield that other military members do not personally confront,” said Addabbo, a co-sponsor of the bill. “By providing these brave men and women with eight days of paid leave specifically dedicated to their health care, we are demonstrating our appreciation for their unique and dangerous service.”
This new bill adds eight days of paid leave for veterans who served in a combat theater or combat zone of operations who are receiving health services related to their military duty.
“Men and women who join the armed forces are a special kind of people who all too often put their lives on the line to serve a higher purpose: the protection of our country and the preservation of our way of life,” said Addabbo, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs and prime advocate for the state’s Paid Family Leave program which was passed by the Legislature last year.
Addabbo noted that New York’s Paid Family Leave policy, which begins going into effect this coming January, provides paid time off from work for military families facing challenges associated with deployments and other aspects of life in the armed forces. Overall, in addition to offering support for military families, the program will provide paid, job-protected time off from work to enable families to bond with new infants and care for severely ill family members.
Now that the bill providing eight days of health-related paid leave to combat veterans has been approved by both houses of the State Legislature, it will be sent to Governor Cuomo for his final action.
Two other bills co-sponsored by Addabbo, that would have helped veterans, passed the Senate but were not taken up by the Assembly. Those bills would encourage local governments to hire former military members and enable veterans’ organizations to tap into a state program to help pay for maintenance of their facilities.
Speaking on the first bill (S.3879), Addabbo said, “New York has made progress in encouraging private employers to hire former servicemen and women through its Hire-A-Vet program, which provides tax credits to businesses that provide jobs for veterans. This new legislation goes further: offering state grants to municipalities that hire vets for local government jobs.”
Under the proposal, municipalities that hire veterans for at least one year and for at least 35 hours a week would be eligible for the funding. Grants would range from up to $5,000 for a qualified veteran and up to $15,000 for a disabled veteran.
The second bill (S.6085), said Addabbo, would help provide welcome capital funding to veterans’ organizations that need to repair or maintain their facilities by allowing them to access New York’s State and Municipal Facilities Program. These groups, he noted, provide extraordinary services and fellowship for area veterans.
“Small state grants to local organizations have become scarce in recent years, and this has been hard on veterans’ posts,” said Addabbo, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs. “Fire departments, volunteer rescue groups, and other valuable community organizations are eligible to apply for these capital funds, and veterans’ groups should be added to the mix.” In the 2018 fiscal year, a total of $1.64 billion is available through the State and Municipal Facilities Program.
Having passed the Senate, the two bills were respectively under consideration by the Assembly Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means.