Most Garden State residents wound up losing money when they agreed to become an organ donor. But a new law has just taken effect to change that.

The transplant operation expenses are almost always covered by the organ recipient and their insurance, but most of the time the donor will have incurred travel expenses, pain medication costs and frequently missed a month or more of work after the operation.

State Sen. Jim Beach, D-Burlington, who sponsored the measure, said the new law incentivizes public employees to donate organs or bone marrow by providing them with a paid leave of absence.

The statute grants all state and local government employees, including teachers and other public school workers, up to 30 work days for an organ donation and up to five work days for a bone marrow donation.

Beach said private companies are offered tax credits for providing their workers time off.

The law allows for taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 of unreimbursed expenses incurred for their own organ or bone marrow donation, and their employers would be granted a tax credit equal to 25% of the donor’s salary during the time missed for up to 30 days of work. The credit would only be offered if the employer gives their worker paid time off for the donation.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, organ donors typically spend between four to seven days in the hospital after their donation and can return to work and their normal activities within four to six weeks.

Beach said if someone is good enough to donate an organ they should be helped financially.

“We should be encouraging and incentivizing people to do that to save other people’s lives. If it’s in their heart, if they’re good enough to do this to help save someone’s life, it shouldn’t cost them financially.”

The legislation, dubbed Lindsay’s Law, was named for Lindsay Clark, a Pine Hill women who donated a kidney for Beach’s sister. He then helped organize a fundraiser to cover her expenses.

“I don’t think organ donors should be punished because they are basically angels," he said. “Had my sister not needed a kidney, I probably would have been oblivious to the donor situation.”

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