Bills Offered on TSA Employee Rights, Disabled Veterans

A newly offered House bill (HR-2309) would extend to TSA front-line employees the same bargaining and appeal rights applying to federal employees in general. TSA employees fall under certain special provisions dating to when the agency was first created as part of the Transportation Department more than a decade ago. The bill also would abolish the pay for performance system used at the agency and move the employees into the GS system.

Similar legislation, sponsored by Democrats and backed by the AFGE union which represents TSA screeners, has been offered in past years but has not advanced in Congress.

Meanwhile, a new Senate bill (S-899) would make Veterans Health Administration employees who are under the “Title 38” set of personnel laws eligible for disabled veteran leave if they meet the qualification standards. Under that authority, which took effect last November, veterans newly hired with a VA disability rating of 30 percent or more are eligible for up to 104 hours of leave in the first 12 months of employment without charge to other forms of leave, to be used for medical treatment related to that disability and for which sick leave could otherwise be used.

A change in law is needed to include Title 38 employees because as written the law applies only to those under U.S. Code Title 5, which covers the large majority of the federal workforce. A law was enacted last year to include FAA employees not in Title 5.