Living Organ Donation
A living organ donor is someone who donates a kidney or partial liver to another person - usually a relative or close friend - who has end stage kidney disease or liver failure.
Living organ donation requires major surgery and is not without risk to the donor. Prospective donors are required to undergo extensive testing to ensure they are a suitable match for the intended recipient and are physically and mentally healthy enough to be able to donate.
If surgery proceeds, an employed donor will require a significant amount of time off work to recover. Depending on the donor's leave arrangements, some donors may be required to take this period as leave without pay, or may exhaust their paid leave entitlements. This can lead to financial stress and donors may feel pressured to return to work before they have completely recovered.
About the Program
The Supporting Living Organ Donors Program (the Program) seeks to raise the profile of living organ donors and also encourage employers to support donors.
The aim of the Program is to ensure that cost is not a barrier for living organ donors to donate a kidney or part of their liver by providing 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.
On 8 May 2017, the Australian Government announced that the Program would continue for four years from 1 July 2017 with some important changes.
From 1 July 2017, the program has been expanded to allow donors who are having surgery on or after this date to claim reimbursement for some out of pocket expenses, enabling donors who are not employed to participate.
Eligibility and Payment Rates
To be eligible for the Program, the donor must be:
- an Australian resident (as defined by the Health Insurance Act 1973) with a valid Medicare card;
- 18 years of age or older;
- intending to donate a kidney or partial liver;
- donating in Australia*; and
- (if seeking reimbursement for leave taken) employed by:
- a registered Australian business with an active ABN; and
- an employer willing to participate in the Program (or be self-employed with an active ABN).
The Program provides a payment of up to nine weeks, based on a 38 hour week (a maximum of 342 hours), at up to the National Minimum Wage.
As at 1 July 2019, the National Minimum Wage is $740.80 per week, or $19.49 per hour, as determined by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
If surgery was prior to 1 July 2017, you are unable to claim any out-of-pocket expenses.
Program DocumentsFor donors and employers who are interested in the Program please see the below Guidelines for further information.
- Frequently Asked Questions - 2018 (PDF 210 KB)
Frequently Asked Questions - 2018 (Word 83 KB)
How to pay your employee (PDF 90 KB)
How to pay your employee (Word 16 KB)
RegistrationDonors undergoing surgery to donate a kidney or part of a liver, need to complete the Individual Registration Form and return it, and relevant supporting documentation, to the Department of Health via post:
- Supporting Living Organ Donors Program
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Donors without access to a printer should call us on (02) 6289 5055 to arrange for a form to be mailed out.
From 1 May 2018, all Program registrations should be received prior to surgery. Program registrations received post-surgery may not be accepted.
Once the form has been received, we will assess eligibility and notify the donor and employer separately in writing.
ClaimingEligible participants will be sent:
- a Claim Form, Out-of-pocket expenses tracker, and Appointment sign-off sheet.
- Claim Form (PDF 136 KB)
Claim Form (Word 153 KB)
Out-of-pocket expenses tracker (PDF 102 KB)
Out-of-pocket expenses tracker (Word 145 KB)
Appointment sign-off sheet (PDF 87 KB)
Appointment sign-off sheet (Word 42 KB)
The donor and their employer will be notified of the outcome after all documentation has been received and assessed.
From 1 May 2018, no further Claim Forms will be accepted where the surgery was on or before 30 June 2017.
Change of circumstancesIt is important that participants in the Program tell us if their circumstances change. For example, if there is a change to:
- surgery date
- personal details
- your address or phone number
- medical practitioner, or
- withdrawal from the donation process.
FeedbackFor questions or feedback about the Supporting Living Organ Donors Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about living kidney donation can be found at Kidney Health Australia's website
For general enquiries please email: email@example.com or call (02) 6289 5055.
The Department of Health has made every effort to ensure that the documents on this web page meet accessibility requirements. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the information contained within any of these document, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 6289 5055 to arrange for an alternative format to be provided to you.