Supporting Living Organ Donors – continuation and expansion

This proposal will provide funding for a four-year continuation of the Supporting Leave for Living Organ Donors Program to ensure that cost is not a barrier for living organ donors to donate a kidney or part of their liver.

Page last updated: 09 May 2017

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The program will continue to provide a financial contribution to employers to either replenish an employee's leave or contribute towards reimbursing an employer who has made a payment to their employee in place of income lost due to organ donation. Donors who are not employed will be included to have their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed, as part of the expanded program. The Government has previously extended the amount of leave to be reimbursed from six to nine weeks, at the rate of the national minimum wage.

Why is this important?

This measure reaffirms the Government’s commitment to increasing organ donation rates in Australia. Approximately 1,000 Australians are on the kidney transplant waiting list and 12,000 Australians are on haemodialysis at any given time. Over the past five years, the rate of Australians on dialysis has continued to grow.

Australia’s increasing rate of deceased organ donation will not alone meet the demand for kidney transplantation. As the population ages and chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, rise, it is likely there will be an increase in the number of Australians in need of kidney transplantation.

For people who selflessly choose to donate an organ to save the life of a loved one, the financial burden of their recovery, often due to income loss, can be a barrier to donation.

From 1 July 2013 to 20 April 2017, 446 Australians who have chosen to donate an organ had registered with the Supporting Leave for Living Organ Donors Program. Any increase in the number of transplantations in Australia will result in long-term savings to the health system and a positive social impact for the Australian community. Living donation also results in fewer Australians having to rely on deceased organ donors.

Who will benefit?

Living donors will be reimbursed for leave and out-of-pocket expenses, thus lowering a significant barrier to their deciding to donate an organ.

Increased rates of organ donation significantly improve quality of life for people living with kidney disease. They also reduce the overall cost to the health system of services such as dialysis.

How much will this cost?

This measure will cost $4.1 million from 2017–18 to 2020-21.

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