Any way to demand repayment of health insurance premiums?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We have an employee who failed to return from an FMLA leave of absence. During the leave, we had been paying our customary share of her medical insurance premiums. Is there anything we can do to recoup the expenses we paid for this employee?

A.
The short answer is yes. An employer may recover its share of health plan premiums during a period of unpaid FMLA leave from an employee if the employee fails to return to work after the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement has been exhausted or expires.

However, it’s illegal to do so if the employee did not return because of:

  • The continuation, recurrence or onset of a serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s family member which would otherwise entitle the employee to leave under the FMLA
  • Other circumstances beyond the employee’s control.

An employee is deemed to have “returned” to work if he or she returns for at least 30 calendar days, or if the employee retires.

This rule applies only to unpaid FMLA leave. If an employer requires an employee to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave, the employer cannot recover its medical insurance premiums.

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