Excused Leave for Blood Donation

Legislation enacted in August 2022 (Chapter 530 Laws of 2022) establishes a new Section 159-d of the Civil Service Law, to authorize up to 4 hours of paid leave for employees to donate blood on an annual basis.  Employees are entitled to a leave of absence with pay for up to 4 hours per calendar year. This leave can be used intermittently.  Any unused leave will expire on the last day of each calendar year.

Employees who donate blood outside of their regular work schedule, do so on their own time. For example, employees are not granted compensatory time off for blood donations that occur on pass days or holidays.

Eligible employees are entitled to this leave, subject to the approval of their supervisor. Employees may be required to submit documentation showing that their absence was for the purpose of donating blood. Employees are required to give reasonable notice of the need for such leave.

Employees are entitled to, on a calendar year basis, one of two options for blood donation:

  1. up to 4 hours of paid leave (may be used intermittently until the entitlement is exhausted) to donate blood at an off-premises location; or
  2. up to 4 hours of paid leave for employees to donate blood, which includes the opportunity to donate blood at a time and place set by the employer, including blood drives at the place of employment, at least 2 times per year.

Additionally, for those agencies opting for on-premises blood donation under Section 202-j of the Labor Law, any portion of the four-hour calendar year paid leave entitlement that is not exhausted by on-premises donation can be used to donate blood off-premises.  For example, if an employee donates blood 2 times per year at the place of employment and in each instance uses 1 hour of paid leave, the employee would be able to use 2 additional hours of paid leave to donate blood off-premises during the calendar year.

Whether the leave is used for donation at an off-premises donation site, at the place of employment or both, an employee may only receive a maximum of 4 hours of paid leave under Civil Service Law 159-d and Labor Law 202-j. 

Employees may continue to request time off for additional blood donations using appropriate accrued leave.