Almost half of persons now hired into full-time, permanent, non-seasonal federal jobs have veterans status, and the share among them with a military disability rating also has increased, according to the CBO.

It said that 46 percent of those hired into such positions are veterans, up from 35 percent in 2008, and that the proportion of those with a service-related disability rating of 30 percent or more has nearly doubled from 5.5 to 10.7 percent. “The rate of increase in hiring of disabled veterans has slowed recently, but CBO expects that about 8,000 to 9,000 disabled veterans will continue to be hired by the federal government each year through 2020,” it said.

The CBO was examining the potential impact of legislation advancing in Congress to allow veterans with that disability rating to have access to a full year’s worth of sick leave, 13 days, in their first year of employment rather than having to use it as they accumulate it. The leave would have to be used for medical treatment related to that condition and would not carry over after the first year.

It estimated that about 60 percent of that leave would be used but said the budget and operational impact on agencies would be difficult to calculate because some of the veterans might use annual leave instead if they don’t have enough sick leave, and agencies “might hire additional people or contract for additional services to make up for the lost output of the disabled workers who would take additional leave under the bill.”

The increase in veterans hiring, resulting in part from an administration initiative, has raised concerns from MSPB and others about the ability of non-veterans to compete for federal job vacancies. Another result, MSPB has said, has been a slight decrease in the percentage of women in the federal workforce, since the large majority of veterans are men. Latest data from OPM show that 43.5 percent of the permanent federal workforce in 2012 was female, down from 44.2 percent in 2008.