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Illinois Enacts Legislation Granting Time Off for Blood Donations

  • July 21, 2005

Effective January 1, 2006, employers in Illinois will be required to permit employees time off from work with pay to donate blood.  Enacted on July 14, 2005, the "Employee Blood Donation Leave Act" permits public and private employees to take one hour of paid leave to donate blood every 56 days. 

The Act affects Illinois employers with more than 50 employees, although it is limited to full-time employees with at least six months of service.  Employees must receive their "employer's approval" before taking the leave to donate blood.

Unfortunately for Illinois employers, the Act is far from self-explanatory. The Illinois legislature directed the state Department of Labor to promulgate regulations for the administration of this Act, including rules establishing – among other things – how an employee is to request leave, conditions under which the leave must be approved, and what medical documentation an employer may require before or after the donation leave.

The new Act was passed concurrently with minor, non-substantive changes to the existing Illinois Organ Donor Leave Act (2003), which provides employees of the state or state agencies of any size with up to 30 days of paid leave in any 12-month period to serve as a bone marrow or organ donor, or up to 2 hours paid leave to donate blood platelets (to a maximum of 24 times in a 12-month period, or approximately every 2 weeks).  These employees may not be required to exhaust accrued vacation or paid time off before becoming eligible for leave under the Organ Donor Leave Act.

See below for a copy of the new blood donation leave legislation.

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