The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act 2016 was passed into law by Parliament on 30 November 2016. The corresponding Act will commence on 5 December 2017 (unless brought into force earlier by an Order-in-Council).
The new Act means that qualifying people who donate kidney or liver tissue for transplantation purposes will be reimbursed 100% of their income for up to 12 weeks to allow for recovery after surgery. Currently, organ donors receive the equivalent of the sickness benefit during their recovery period. Interestingly, the original bill recommended 80% reimbursement, but this was increased to 100% by the Health Select Committee.
Donors who qualify for compensation are those who will forego earnings as a result of taking unpaid leave or otherwise ceasing employment to allow for their recovery from surgery. The donation surgery and the surgery to implant the donated organ must be carried out in New Zealand, and the recipient must be eligible to receive services funded under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. The Act also shifts responsibility for compensation from the Ministry of Social Development to the Director-General of the Ministry of Health.