The US Department of Labor has shared an opinion letter that protects the job security of eligible living organ donors who need to take time off for their donation. For more detailed information about this news, you can view the opinion letter here, or a source press release from the American Kidney Fund.
What the Letter Says
In the letter, the DOL says that an organ donation can qualify as a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) if it involves inpatient care (typically an overnight stay) or continuing treatment, as defined by their regulations.
What this Means
This conclusion means that people who decide to become living donors can qualify for FMLA leave, which entitles them to up to twelve unpaid weeks off work within a twelve month period, during which time their job is protected.
The American Kidney Fund has commended this decision, saying that it is a “game-changer” for people living in the US who might have thought about donating, but couldn’t take time off work “for fear of losing their jobs.”
Existing Donor Protections
According to the American Kidney Fund’s press release, living donors are already entitled to some protections in America. People who are employed by the US government may be allowed thirty paid days of leave for an organ donation, and one week for bone marrow donation. State government employees also have similar policies in some areas, and, in certain states, similar policies may also extend to the private sector.
Possible Future Changes
The American Kidney Fund is calling on the United States Congress to go further with donor protections and pass the Living Donor Protection Act (H.R. 1270). This act would prevent disability, long-term care, and life insurers from refusing or increasing the premiums of policies for living donors.
For more specific information about the opinion letter, you can view it here.