Your live kidney donor will need to take time off work

My live kidney donor will need to take time off work for the operation and recovery and will not be earning any money. Can my donor get any help with this? 

You may be worried about asking someone to donate a kidney to you because they will have to take time off work for the operation and to recover. The good news is that your donor may now qualify to get compensation for loss of earnings from the date of your donor’s operation until a doctor says they are recovered and can go back to work. 

The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act 2016 (the Act) was passed in December 2016. The Act comes into force on the 5th December 2017. 

To qualify for compensation 

  • your live kidney donor must have been accepted as a suitable donor by the New Zealand health system
  • your donor’s surgery ( operation) must take place in New Zealand 
  • the recipient of the kidney (you) must be eligible for publicly funded health services in New Zealand.

Your donor needs to lose income to be eligible for the compensation (so if they take sick leave/annual leave they are NOT eligible even though they might spend that leave).

This Act says that live organ donors (including live kidney donors) will be compensated for loss of earnings from the date of the donor’s operation to the date the donor goes back to work. Compensation for loss of earnings will be paid for up to 12 weeks. Many donors will be signed off by the hospital to go back to work earlier than 12 weeks – usually within 6 weeks after their operation. 

This means you do not have to worry that your donor will not be earning any income when your donor has their operation and while they recover. 

There is more information about the Act on the Ministry’s website:

What if my donor is on a benefit?

Your donor is not entitled to any compensation. However depending on what sort of benefit your donor is on, your donor may be exempt from work test obligations from the time of their operation until they have recovered. This means your donor may not have to apply for jobs until a doctor has said your donor is well enough. This will be for a maximum of 12 weeks from their operation date. Remember most donors usually recover within 6 weeks of the operation. 

If your donor earns income on top of their benefit, they may be eligible for compensation to cover this while they are recovering. Your donor needs to talk to their case manager about their situation in case they need to change to a different benefit while they are recovering.

Talk to your transplant co-ordinator if you are not sure about anything.