responsiblity for paying insurance premium if I extrend my FMLA leave

I am planning to use FMLA leave- if I extend my leave by using my vacation time am I still responsible for paying my insurance premium?

2 answers  |  asked Aug 28, 2001 10:50 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (2)

David M. Lira
Premiums and FMLA

FMLA provides only 12 weeks of leave, during which the employer remains responsible for paying for things like health insurance, to the degree paid for those benefits when employees are not on FMLA leave.

Here, you are talking about extending your leave. I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you are talking about extending FMLA leave beyond 12 weeks, then your question no longer has to do with FMLA, although it might have to do with the Employer Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"). You rights under ERISA will depend on what the Plan and Summary Plan Description says to the insurance program you are talking about. If you don't already have them, get copies of the SPDs for the insurance programs you are worried about, either from your employer or the insurance company involved. I would be able to answer your question based on what the SPDs say.

You also talked about using you vacation time. I assume that you have a lot of acrued vacation. Although the SPD or Plan documents would still govern, if employees on vacation are not normally required to pay the insurance premiums, then you should not be required to pay the premiums because you are using vacation to take care of something that might otherwise be covered by FMLA. That might be considered to be discrimination under ERISA. The anti-discrimination provisions of ERISA require employers to treat similarly situated employees equally.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Aug 29, 2001 2:35 PM [EST]
Outten & Golden LLP
Medical/Family Leave

Dear Ms. Brown:

Generally speaking, the FMLA entitles an employee to take family or medical leave, paid or unpaid (depending on the company's standing policy) for twelve weeks without fear of losing her/his job. However, an employee cannot be put into a worse position for electing leave. Therefore, an employee on FMLA leave need only pay whatever insurance premiums s/he would have been responsible for had s/he not taken the FMLA leave.

If you are interested in retaining an employment attorney to negotiate with the company regarding your FMLA rights, our firm has extensive experience with the FMLA and can offer services of this type on an hourly fee basis or, perhaps, through a contingency fee arrangement.

If you are interested in receiving legal services from our firm, please feel free to telephone us at 212-245-1000 and ask to speak to Melissa Arthur, who manages our intake process.

posted by Outten & Golden LLP  |  Aug 29, 2001 08:22 AM [EST]

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