Approaching your company about taking time off from work can be challenging – but the Circle of Excellence is here to help!
When you meet with your employer about taking a leave for living organ donation, you may consider the following questions:
Additionally, the following country-specific information may be helpful for you to know as a potential living donor.
In the US, job-protected leave for voluntary living organ donation and the subsequent recovery time will often be available under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
The FMLA provides most employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
To be covered by the FMLA, you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours, and your employer must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite. (See page 2 of The Employee Guide to the FMLA - the “Guide”)
“Serious health condition” includes voluntary living organ donation and recovery if:
In Canada, job-protected leave for voluntary living organ donation is controlled by provincial statute for most employees. The following provinces provide this job-protected leave:
Employees in federally regulated industries are entitled to 17 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.
If the organ donation is coordinated through the provincial health authority, then the operation will be covered by the provincial health plan. Each province has their own health authorities and there are also some living organ donor reimbursement plans to support some of the donor expenses such as travel, meals, as well as loss of income.
The Medical Toolkit will discuss specific aspects of living kidney donor evaluation and experience.
The Living Donor Financial Toolkit will discuss the costs and resources available to help in the donation process. This toolkit is for potential living donors and others involved in living donation.
This online program, created by the National Kidney Foundation, teaches everything you need to know about donating a kidney, including benefits and risk, how to start the evaluation process, the surgery, financial considerations, and emotional aspects of donation.
Ann donated her kidney to a close friend. She also worked with her employer, University of Alabama at Birmingham, to implement a policy to provide salary support to an employee who volunteers as living organ donor or bone marrow donor.
It developed momentum and it passed, and it was just very exciting. In some ways, I think it's more exciting than transplanting one person because it can impact more people. I'm sure there are people who don't donate because they don't have paid time off - because they can't afford it. You might be off and your job is protected, but that doesn't pay your mortgage. Having a policy really opens the door to more transplants taking place. It takes away one more barrier that might prevent people from being living donors.
Read Ann's full story.
Has a company policy helped you with living donation? Share your story.