Assessment of compensation for live organ donors

Information on who qualifies to receive compensation under the Compensation of Live Donors Act, and how that compensation is assessed.

Earnings compensation under the Act

Earnings-related compensation

Under the Act, the Director-General (or their delegate) must pay earnings-related compensation for a period that starts on the date of donor surgery and ends immediately before the earlier of:

  • the end date set by the Director-General
  • the date that the donor returns to his or her employment.

The maximum period of compensation will be for a recuperation period of 12 weeks, as certified by a medical practitioner. The recuperation of most qualifying donors will be for a shorter period than 12 weeks.

The Director-General will assess the rate of earnings-related compensation. This will require the qualifying donor to provide supporting documentation to the Ministry of the earnings they will forgo during their period of recuperation.

Discretionary earnings compensation

Qualifying donors who have donor surgery after the Act comes into effect (expected by 5 December 2017) may receive discretionary compensation in limited circumstances if they have a loss of earnings in order to undertake one or more activities in preparation for the surgery (such as assessments or tests).

There is no provision for backdating of discretionary earnings compensation.

Qualifying or eligible donors

To be a qualifying donor under the Act, the Director-General needs to be satisfied that the person has, or will forgo, earnings as a result of taking unpaid leave or otherwise ceasing employment to allow for his or her recuperation from surgery.

Qualifying donors may be eligible for earnings-related compensation if they are an employee, self-employed, shareholder employee, have overseas earnings, on paid parental leave, or a beneficiary in receipt of income from employment.

Donors who are beneficiaries

People who have donor surgery (whether or not a qualifying donor) and who are beneficiaries who are subject to work test obligations or obligations under the Social Security Act 1964, may be exempt from these obligations.

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development will make the decision on whether the donor will have recuperated sufficiently to safely comply with the relevant obligations under the Social Security Act.

ACC claims not affected

Except as provided by the Accident Compensation Act 2001, an entitlement or payment under the Act will not affect any ACC claim that a qualifying donor may have made.

Travel and accommodation costs

The Compensation for Live Donors Act does not provide compensation to donors for travel and accommodations costs associated with attending appointments pre- or post-surgery. 

These costs can be reimbursed under the National Travel Assistance Protocol for any eligible donor. The protocol for reimbursement can be found at Organ donor resources.

A new protocol for live organ donors should be read in conjunction with the National Travel Assistance Protocol.


The Act will come into effect by 5 December 2017. There are transitional provisions in place for people who donate before the Act comes into force.

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