Collecting unpaid health insurance premiums after FMLA leave

Q. One of our employees recently came back from FMLA leave. Before he left, we never agreed on the method by which he would pay his share of health insurance premiums. It’s been two months now, and the employee hasn’t mentioned it or attempted to pay us back. What can we do to collect the premium?

A. Your question suggests that your employee handbook or other employee communication doesn’t reference the payment policy. If that is correct, you should advise the employee in writing that he owes the company the amount of his share of the premiums that were paid while he was on leave.

If the employee would prefer that the amount owed be deducted from his paychecks, and signs an authorization to that effect, the company can make the deductions. It would be risky to do so without the employee’s advance consent. In the future, you should notify employees at the beginning of their FMLA leaves how the payment of premiums will be handled during the leave.