California Senate Bill 1304 enacted Part 5.5 of the Labor Code, Section 1508, et seq., effective January 1, 2011, which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid leave for employees who donate an organ or bone marrow to another person. The paid leave period is up to 30 days per year for an organ donation and up to five days for a bone marrow donation.

SB 1304 permits employers to require their employees to use up to two (2) weeks' accrued paid leave (including vacation time) for organ donation and up to five (5) days' accrued paid leave for bone marrow donation. Health care benefits must be maintained during these leave periods, which cannot count as a break in service. Reinstatement after such leaves is required, unless the job would not otherwise be available absent the leave, such as the end of a temporary project or a reduction in force. Finally, these leaves do not count as Family Medical Leave Act or California Family Rights Act leave, and, of course, the usual anti-discrimination provisions apply.

Accordingly, California employers who have not already done so should prepare a Donor Leave of Absence Policy to cover these new leaves of absence and must provide these benefits even if the company does not otherwise provide paid leave.