Effective as of July 1, 2016, employers in Wisconsin who employ at least 50 individuals are required to provide eligible employees with up to six weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to undergo and recover from bone marrow or organ donation procedures.
Under the law, which borrows several provisions from the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (WFMLA), employees are eligible for donor leave if they have worked for a covered employer for 52 consecutive weeks and have worked at least 1,000 hours in the last 52 weeks. An employee may elect to substitute other paid or unpaid leave provided by the employer during a covered absence under the law. Employers must maintain an employee’s group health insurance benefits during the approved leave if the employee had coverage under the plan immediately before taking leave.
Employees are required to make a reasonable effort to schedule a donation so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations, subject to the approval of the donee’s health care provider, and must give the employer reasonable advance notice of the need for the leave. An employer may require medical certification affirming: (i) that the donee has a serious health condition that necessitates a bone marrow or organ transplant; (ii) that the employee is eligible and has agreed to be a bone marrow or organ donor for the donee; and (iii) the amount of time anticipated to be necessary for the employee to recover from the donation.
Upon an employee’s return from leave, the employee must be reinstated to his or her former position, or if that position is no longer vacant, to a position with equivalent pay, benefits, working shift, hours and other terms and conditions of employment. An employer and employee may mutually agree that, during a period of recovery from a donation, the employee will work in an alternative position. However, any period of time that the employee works in an alternative position does not reduce the employee’s leave entitlement under the law.
Covered employers are required to conspicuously post a notice issued by the Department of Workforce Development setting forth employee rights under the bone marrow and organ donor law. Employers with between 25 and 49 employees, though not expressly covered by the leave requirements of the law, are also required to post a notice describing their own policies with respect to leave for bone marrow and organ donation.