How to handle healthy employee who donates


Sometimes, it can be confusing to figure out what counts as a “serious health condition” that qualifies for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).


The Dept. of Labor (DOL) released an opinion letter discussing whether one unique procedure is eligible for FMLA leave: organ-donation surgery.


Defining requirements


The opinion letter addresses whether an employee can take FMLA leave for post-operative treatment after donating an organ to someone else, even if they were in good health before the donation.


Per the FMLA, a serious health condition is typically an “illness injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition” requiring either inpatient treatment in a hospital or another care setting or continued treatment by a healthcare provider.


Serious health conditions usually prevent employees from working, doing normal daily activities or performing the essential functions of their jobs. This includes the time workers must be absent to receive treatment for a condition.


Are donors eligible?


According to the DOL, an organ donation can qualify as a serious health condition as long as the donor received inpatient care or continuing treatment because of the procedure.


It the letter, the employer noted that the organ donors usually must stay in the hospital overnight after surgery, often for multiple days.


So if the donor’s staying overnight at the hospital after the procedure, the DOL said that alone would make the person eligible to receive FMLA leave for the surgery and their post-surgical recovery.


Organ donation could also qualify as a serious medical condition if it meets other criteria, including if the person needs to miss work for follow-up treatments.


Whether a worker requests FMLA leave due to organ-donation surgery or any other serious health condition, employers have the right to ask for medical certification from a healthcare provider to confirm the condition before approving FMLA leave.