As of Saturday, January 1, 2011, private employers with 15 or more employees in California are required to provide paid leaves of absence for organ and bone marrow donations. The law, Public Chapter 646, is similar to a leave provision already in place for public employees and ensures up to 30 days of paid leave in a one-year period for organ donation. (The law provides five days of leave in a one-year period for marrow donation.)
To take the leave, the employee must provide written verification that she is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical necessity for the donation. Retaliation against those who take the leave is prohibited, and the leave may not be treated as a break in continuous service for the purpose of seniority, salary adjustments, and so on.
The law does permit employers to require that employees exhaust up to five days of accrued sick or vacation leave for bone marrow donation and up to two weeks of earned and unused sick or vacation leave for organ donation unless doing so would violate the provisions of an applicable collective bargaining agreement.
If you have questions about this or any other California employment law topic, contact California Employment Law Letter editor Mark Schickman or assistant editor Cathleen Yonahara with Freeland Cooper and Foreman LLP.