FMLA leave for victims and donors — Congress introduces bills to expand 30-year-old law


Slim chance of bills making it to President Biden’s desk

Eligible employees would be able to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for more reasons if legislation introduced in Congress gains traction. 

At the end of April, members of Congress introduced bills that would expand FMLA leave to include time off for victims of certain crimes and for living donors.


A bill (HR 2996, Bice) would amend the FMLA to entitle employees to take leave for their needs related to being a victim of:

  • Dating violence,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Sexual assault,
  • Sex trafficking, or
  • Stalking.

Currently, unless the incident results in the employee or a family member having a serious health condition (as defined in the FMLA), employees are not entitled to FMLA leave for these types of reasons.


The Living Donor Protection Act (S 1384, Gillibrand) would amend the federal FMLA to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition. Therefore, employees would be entitled to FMLA leave for recovery from such a donation.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division indicated that time off for a kidney donation would be FMLA leave, as such a procedure would result in an overnight stay in a health care facility. This was, however, an opinion letter that focused specifically on kidney donation.

A second donor-related bill (HR 3024, Phillips) would amend the FMLA to entitle employees to take leave for bone marrow or blood stem cell donation.

Currently, employees are not entitled to FMLA leave for such reasons.

Key to Remember: These bills are in the first stage of the law-making process and may not garner much support. But they illustrate that Congress continues to look for ways to expand employee FMLA leave rights.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


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