Governor Brown Approves Amendments Clarifying Provisions of Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Law

Last year the California Legislature passed SB 1304, providing employees an opportunity to take paid leaves of absence from work for bone marrow and organ donation, as previously reported here. The law took effect January 1, 2011 and applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The law allows for leaves for organ donation of up to 30 days and bone marrow donation of up to five days in a one-year period. The law also allows employers to require an employee take up to five days of earned but unused sick or vacation leave for bone marrow donation, and up to two weeks of earned but unused sick or vacation leave for organ donation as a condition of receiving such leave.

This year, the Legislature passed SB 272 (DeSaulnier), and on August 1, Governor Brown approved the bill, which clarified key provisions of the law. SB 272 clarifies that for purposes of this law, the days of leave shall be business days rather than calendar days. The bill also clarifies that the one-year period is measured from the date the employee’s leave begins and consists of 12 consecutive months. Finally, the law was amended to include a reference to “paid time off” along with sick and vacation leave, which allows employers to require employees to take paid time off prior to taking the leave provided by the law, under the same conditions for sick and vacation leave outlined above.

SB 272 specifies that the amendments are declaratory of existing law. Accordingly, employers administering such leaves should apply the amendments as if they took effect January 1, 2011.

Please check back regularly for updates on California bills as we track legislation in 2011.

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