Governor Brown this week signed SB 272 (DeSaulnier) into law to provide clarity and certainty for both employees and employers in the implementation of California’s bone marrow and organ donation leave law.
Last year Senator DeSaulnier authored SB 1304, the Michelle Maykin Memorial Donation Protection Act, which provides private sector employees with paid leave to donate an organ or bone marrow.
SB 1304 was the product of Senator DeSaulnier’s 2010 “There Ought to be a Law” contest. Responding to the contest, Megan Williams (Hoang Thu) of Walnut Creek proposed this change in law after her daughter, Michelle Maykin, passed away from leukemia in 2009 after not being able to find a bone marrow donor.
Last October SB 1304 was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford with Apple CEO Steve Jobs in attendance.
After the enactment of SB 1304 questions arose from both employees and employers with regard to how different provisions of the statute should be interpreted.
“SB 272 clarifies various provisions of the law we created last year,” said DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “These clarifications will make it easier for workers to take this kind of leave and will make it easier for employers to comply with the law. The last thing somebody should be worried about is taking time off of work to donate life- saving organs or bone marrow.”
This bill makes clear that the 30 days of paid leave for bone marrow donation are business days, not calendar days and the one-year period referenced in the statue is 12 consecutive months, not a calendar year. In addition, SB 272 clarifies that the employer must maintain the employee’s health benefits at the same level during the paid leave as if they had continued to work during that period.
SB 272 was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and supported by the California Nurses Association. This bill received unanimous support in both the Senate and the Assembly. SB 272 will take effect January 1, 2012.