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Many employees choose to donate blood. Blood donation centres generally open beyond normal office hours so it is arguable that employees should not need to take any time off work in order to donate blood. However, what should you do if you are faced with a request from an employee for time off to donate blood? 

Here are some pointers:

  • does the business already have a policy in place to deal with time off to donate blood during working hours? If so, you should consult this and act accordingly.
  • if there is no express policy in place, then is there a custom and practice that has been adopted in relation to time off for this reason? If so, then it is a good idea to follow any previous custom. Failing to do so, without good reason, could lead to allegations of unfairness and/or discrimination in appropriate cases. You should act consistently.
  • if there is no express policy and no obvious custom or practice, then the legal position here is that time off to donate blood is not a legal right. It comes with no entitlement to claim the time off as sick leave – other than the time spent actually donating blood and a short rest period thereafter, the employee will not be prevented by sickness from working.
  • although there is no legal right to time off to donate blood, you will want to make sure that your managers know how to handle any request. You could choose to adopt a supportive policy, allowing a short amount of paid leave during the working day in order to donate blood. Alternatively, you could make it clear that employees who want to give blood are expected to donate outside of their working hours, except for cases where there is an emergency request for donation.
  • there are good reputational reasons that you may wish to promote and support time off for blood donation. It is an important civic duty and, if a supportive and encouraging approach is taken, this could increase employee morale.

Find out how we can help.  Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department.  Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at [email protected].