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California Clarifies Organ/Bone Marrow Leave Rules

California?á enacted a new law on August 3, 2011?á to clarify a law enacted in 2010 that allows employees to take leave to donate an organ or bone marrow.?á The new law clarifies the following: (1) the 30-day leave?á period over a one-year period for organ donation, and the five-day leave period over a one-year period for bone marrow donation, are business days not calendar days, and the one-year period is 12 consecutive months rather than a calendar year; (2) employees must provide employers with written verification of the donation and its medical necessity; (3) employers may condition the leave on employees taking up to five days of earned but unused sick leave, vacation or paid time off for a bone marrow donation, and up to two weeks of such leave for organ donation; (4) the leave may not be taken concurrently with FMLA leave; (5) collective bargaining agreements or employee benefit plans may provide greater leave rights than the new law, but cannot provide less; and (6) any time taken for donation leave is not considered a break in service for purposes of salary adjustments, sick leave, vacation, paid time off, annual leave, or seniority, and employers must continue the employee’s group health coverage at the same level.?á This new law takes effect January 1, 2012.?á A copy can be found here.

The lawyers of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group are readily able to assist companies on a nationwide basis with implementing sophisticated benefit plans and providing answers to their most challenging compensation issues. Additionally, our lawyers are well aware of the daily employee benefits challenges facing companies of all sizes and are capable of helping in-house lawyers and human resources personnel with the day-to-day advice and guidance necessary to properly administer employee benefits plans.

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August 2011