Organ Donor Leave Introduced

The Ontario Government introduced Bill 154, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in respect of organ donor leave, which will, if passed, provide up to 13 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave for employees who undergo surgery in order to donate certain organs to other persons. Donations of the kidney, lung, liver, pancreas and small bowel are included in the current bill, while other organ and tissue donations may be added by regulation.

Employees must be employed by the same employer for at least 13 weeks in order to qualify for the leave, and are required to provide written notice of the leave at least two weeks in advance, if possible. Employers may request a medical certificate confirming that the employee has or will undergo organ donation surgery which shall be provided by the employee as soon as possible.

The leave would begin on the day of the surgery or on an earlier day as specified in a medical certificate. Leave may be extended by an additional 13 weeks if supported by a medical certificate, making the total length of leave up to 26 weeks.

During the leave, employers are required to continue making contributions to benefit plans. Seniority and length of service credits would also continue to accumulate during the leave.

Entitlement under the proposed organ donor bill would be in addition to any entitlement to emergency leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

We will continue to report further developments on the status of the proposed legislation.