Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads joined with combat veterans, PTSD experts, Nassau County employees and union officials to announce the introduction of a bill that will provide an additional five paid days off of paid-time-off (PTO) for combat veterans in the Nassau County government employee workforce. This time can be used for VA appointments, physical therapy or psychological or stress-related treatment.
The legislation is authorized by New York State Military Law §242 that went into effect Nov. 11, 2019 and specifically applies to Nassau County officers or employees that are combat theater veterans and combat zone of operations veterans.
“I am proud to announce my support for a bill that provides our veterans who are now employed by Nassau County with five additional days of paid sick leave while utilizing mental or physical healthcare related services connected to combat,” Legislator Rhoads said. “It is crucial that our veterans receive the respect, support and care that they deserve and not have to worry about missing paid days at work.”
Legislator Bill Gaylor added, “As a legislator and retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, I am proud to co-sponsor this important legislation that will help to get Nassau’s combat veterans the help they may need. Whether it be the physical or mental wounds of war, our message to combat veterans now serving Nassau County is simple: we support you and will continue to do everything we can to give you the resources you need. You deserve nothing less.”
“This bill is very overdue, and I am very happy to see it become law,” Matthew Schmitt, president of Nassau Police Veterans Association said. “There are county workers who have to go to appointments that are related to their combat illnesses and their injuries, and some of these injuries are not visible. Many veterans don’t want to come forward and say they have PTSD, so this bill will give them five days that they can use as sick days, where they don’t have to say it’s PTSD related, only related to illness or combat injury.”
The bill, which went before legislative committees on June 14, is being introduced in June, which is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month. Combat veterans are especially susceptible to PTSD due to the rigor of their service and traumatic experience.
—Submitted by the Nassau County Legislature Majority