Time to update your Virginia employee handbook? Don’t forget about organ/bone marrow donation leave.

Effective July 1, 2023, Virginia employers with 50 or more employees must provide an eligible employee with job protected leave to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor.

Under the law, to be eligible for organ or bone marrow donation leave, an employee must have been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months. Of course, employers are free to set a lower eligibility threshold if they choose.

Eligible employees may take up to 60 business days in a 12-month period to serve as an organ donor and up to 30 days in a 12-month period to serve as a bone marrow donor. Employees cannot be required to run this leave concurrently with leave that they would otherwise be entitled to under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

For employers that have employees who need to take organ or bone marrow donation leave, there are a few important things to remember:

  • The leave cannot be counted as a break in the employee’s service for the purposes of salary adjustments, sick leave, vacation, paid time off, annual leave, seniority, or other employee benefits.
  • The employer can require the employee to provide verification from a physician of the need for the leave.
  • During the leave, an employee’s health benefits must continue in the same way that they would have if the employee had been working.
  • At the end of the leave, the employee must be restored to the same or an equivalent position as the one they occupied before taking the leave.

While the leave requirement itself is mostly straight forward and the frequency with which employers will have employees seeking to take this type of leave is fairly low, covered Virginia employers should be sure that organ and bone marrow donation leave is covered in their handbooks. They should also make sure that employees who handle leave requests are aware of this new form of protected leave.