Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If I am on FMLA Leave, May My Employer Discontinue My Health Insurance?

This is a common concern and worry many employees have when they take leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The answer may not be obvious but the point of FMLA leave is to protect covered employees so that they can take leave and not be retaliated against. Discontinuing health insurance can be considered retaliation on the part of the employer.

Under the FMLA, an employer always must maintain the employee's existing level of coverage (including family or dependent coverage) under a group health plan during the period of FMLA leave, provided the employee pays his or her share of the premiums. An employer may not discriminate against an employee using FMLA leave, and therefore must also provide such an employee with the same benefits (e.g., life or disability insurance) normally provided to an employee in the same leave or part-time status.

For more, see the EEOC's Fact Sheet on this topic.

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