National Live Organ Donor Leave Scheme Announced
Wednesday, 10 April, 2013
The Australian Government has announced a new two-year pilot of a national Live Organ Donor Leave Scheme.
The government will pay employees who wish to become donors up to six weeks of salary, based on the national minimum wage.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Shayne Neumann announced the government would commit 1.3million over the trial period and review and consider outcomes of the trail in early 2015.
“Living donors make an incredibly generous gift, and the government believes this act of kindness should be recognized and supported, “Ms Plibersek says.
“Because the procedure to transplant an organ is not without risk to the donor, we want to ensure they are assisted during the recovery period after surgery.”
According to the latest available statistics from the Australian and New Zealand organ donation registry, there are approximately 1600 people on waiting lists for organ donations.
Mr Neumann says between 2006 and 2012 there was an average of 288 living organ donors each year.
“More than 99 per cent of living donations in Australia involve the donation of a kidney, but a partial liver may be donated,” he adds.
Transplant Australia and Kidney Health Australia have welcomed the announcement.
According to Transplant Australia, one in four potential living donors decline to donate because of anticipated financial hardship.
Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas says the organisation has been advocating for greater recognition for living donors.
“This supporting paid leave program, combined with education of the community about the wonderful gift of living donation, should see employers and employees alike better understand its benefits,” he says.
“For these people their quality of life could be improved dramatically with a donated kidney and we are pleased the Federal Government has removed one obstacle to this occurring – the potential financial hardship donors face.”
Kidney Health Australia’s CEO Anne Wilson agrees the announcement of the trail is a big win for those with kidney disease.
“Currently, many of those who choose to become live organ donors need to take leave, often unpaid, which further adds strain to an already stressful situation.
“Providing paid leave will help those who make the lifesaving decision to provide a kidney to a loved one,” Ms Wilson says.
Health and Ageing ShayHel
The trial will bring Australia into line with best practice across the world where countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the United States all have some form of financial reimbursement program.
The trial will be administered by the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority
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