New provisions added to the California Labor Code which will become effective in January 2011, will require employers with 15 or more employees to grant as much as 30 days paid leave within a one year period for employee organ donors and 5 days paid leave within a one-year period for employees who donate bone marrow.
An employer cannot consider the taking of this leave as a break in service for purposes of the employee’s right to salary adjustments, paid time off, sick leave, vacation, or length of service.
The employer must maintain the employee on any group health coverage it provides to employees during the time of the leave.
In order to qualify for this new leave, the employer may require the employee to provide written verification to the employer that the employee is an organ or bone marrow donor, and that there is a medical necessity for the donation of the organ or bone marrow.
If, at the time the employee takes the leave, the employee had any accrued but unused vacation or other leave, such as Paid Time Off (PTO), or sick leave, the employer can require that this accrued leave be credited against the 5-day bone marrow transplant leave. However, the employer may only credit a maximum of 2 weeks of PTO or sick or vacation time with respect to organ donor leave.
When these leaves end, the employer must restore the employee to the position held by the employee when the leave commenced, or to an equivalent position.
In addition, an employer is prohibited from interfering with an employee taking organ or bone marrow donation leave. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for taking the leave or opposing an unlawful employment practice related to organ or bone marrow donation leave. This new law gives an employee the right to sue to enforce the rights provided by this new leave law.