Navigating the Land of Blood Donation Leave

World Blood Donor Day is this Saturday, June 14. This year, The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the theme of “Safe blood for saving mothers” to help generate awareness surrounding the importance of having timely access to blood donation. Worldwide, the number of deaths related primarily to blood loss is staggering. Here are some other facts about blood donation from the American Red Cross:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
  • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day
  • A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days
  • A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year

As a member of the HR team, what can you do to provide blood donation leave as an important employee and community benefit, without disrupting your day to day operations? The key is having a solid process in place surrounding how to manage employee leave.

Currently, in the United States, about a dozen states have employer donor leave laws for organ, bone marrow, blood and blood platelets. As an example, the state of New York requires that employers provide employees with up to three hours of leave in any twelve month period to donate blood. The employee does need to provide advance notice if the donation is to occur off-premise. In these situations, an appropriate notice should be provided at least three working days in advance. Other types of blood donation only require two days’ notice, such as an onsite blood drive.

Ensure that your HR team has properly informed employees of their right to take blood donation leave, whether it’s a break room poster or part of the employee handbook. Employees may be required to demonstrate evidence of blood donation in the case of off-premise blood draws. You can check out the NY state guidelines for employee blood donation leave here.

Will more states pass blood donor leave laws enabling employees to donate blood? Consider these additional statistics from the WHO: 15% of the world’s population donates approximately 50% of global blood donations. In some countries 90% of donations are from voluntary unpaid blood donors.

Even if your state doesn’t currently have this leave law enacted yet, it’s important for employers to be proactive. Have the necessary tools in place to effectively provide this employee benefit and track it accordingly. It may seem like an unenviable consideration to offer employees another reason to take time off, but this type of leave tracking doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Efficiency is available through technology, so don’t let inaction result from these types of challenges. Make the decision today to implement a streamlined employee leave management program, and provide this important leave time for your employees, local and global community, without throwing a wrench in company operations, or your organization’s bottom line.

Check out “Navigating the Land of Leave” to see what other leave types apply to your state.