Get paid time off to donate blood

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After some back and forth with Human Resources (HR) about a Minnesota State Statute allowing state employees paid time off for donating blood, MAPE members in Local 301 are encouraging all state employees to give blood as blood donation centers are facing a national blood shortage crisis.

“I’m a frequent blood product donor and yet I’ve never known I could take advantage of this opportunity to take paid time off to do so,” said Melissa Wenzel, Local 301 steward. “Knowing that many others might donate blood if they knew about this, it got me extremely curious about how one actually utilizes this statutory benefit.”

So Wenzel contacted HR at the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) where she works and asked how to code blood donation time on a timesheet. Though at first HR interpreted the statute as not applying to state employees wishing to donate off-site, eventually PCA confirmed that all state employees are allowed up to three hours of paid leave (within a 12-month period) when donating blood during the workday at a non-employer sponsored event, and management must grant the time off.

“This statute allows any state worker, anywhere in Minnesota, to be able to donate blood products on work time. This statute alone will contribute to so many lives saved, so many people helped,” Wenzel said.

Wenzel knows firsthand the importance of such donations; she was a recipient of blood, platelets and plasma in 2006 while going through cancer treatment for Leukemia.

“I literally would not be alive today without blood product donations,” she added. 

Employees interested in taking paid time off work to donate blood must provide notice to their supervisor 14 days in advance of the leave request and use the earn code MSL on your timesheet. 

“I can attest that it's a much tougher situation to be a blood product recipient rather than a blood donor,” Wenzel said. “As someone who has been on both ends, I can speak through experience on this. Please consider donating blood! You will be saving lives.”

To find a blood drive near you, visit