City of Birmingham offers paid leave for living organ donors

The city of Birmingham joins UAB and the state of Alabama by providing paid leave for living organ donors.

KidneyChainJoomlaOn Tuesday, April 9, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced a new city policy that gives employees up to four weeks of leave if they donate an organ like a kidney or a portion of a liver. Those who donate bone marrow will get up to one week of leave.

This leave is for employees who have worked for the city for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months.

“Living organ donors sacrifice so much to save lives, and this new policy is just one way I want to show how we as a city applaud our employees’ sacrifice and stand with them in their decision,” Woodfin said. “This announcement comes as we celebrate April as National Donate Life Month. It was the right thing to do for our city and our employees.”

Birmingham is the first municipality in the state of Alabama to offer this type of leave policy for employees.

Jayme E. Locke, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Transplant Institute, says that, nationally, there are 100,000 people awaiting a kidney transplant. However, there are only about 20,000 transplants a year, creating a huge organ shortage. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are 1,522 people awaiting a kidney transplant in Alabama.

Because of the lack of available deceased-donor organs, the Living Kidney Donation Program at UAB helps to meet the growing need for organs among those awaiting a kidney transplant.

“We applaud Mayor Woodfin and the city of Birmingham for embracing organ donation and, in particular, for supporting the decision of our living donors,” Locke said. “They have set the standard for municipalities across the nation, and it is my hope that other cities similarly support organ donation. Supporting our living donors is in and of itself helping to give the gift of life. Under the leadership of Mayor Woodfin, more lives will be saved through living donation.”

In 2017, UAB announced a similar policy for its employees, followed by the state of Alabama’s adopting a policy.

To learn more about living organ donation, visit the official UAB Living Donor Program website.