New York law requires that employers (with 20 or more employees) provide employees three hours of leave time each year for the purpose of donating blood. Recently, the New York Commissioner of Labor issued guidelines for implementing this leave. 

The guidelines require that, starting July 8, 2008, employers provide written notice to employees of their right to take blood donation leave. Notice must be provided to employees by September 8, 2008, in a manner that will ensure the employees will see it, which may include posting the notice, or by personally distributing the notice to employees (such as in paychecks, mailings, letters, etc.). If the notice is delivered directly to employees, it must be disseminated to employees thereafter on an annual basis no later than January 15, and also must be provided to new employees at the time of their hire.

Additionally, the guidelines clarified that the leave granted to employees for off-premises blood donation is not required to be paid leave. However, the leave must be paid if the blood donation occurs at a convenient time and place set by the employer, which may include a blood drive at the employee’s place of business. The guidelines also provide that employees must provide reasonable notice (2 to 3 days, depending on the circumstances) of their desire to take leave for donation purposes.