Pssst….guess what? When your employees take unpaid leaves, it often mean paychecks stop – and so might deductions for benefits such as medical coverage (and hint hint – keep an eye on evolving laws mandating paid leave). The money stops, but what about the coverage? That coverage has to continue during that absence period, so here’s where it gets tricky. If your employee takes an unpaid leave, and then does not return to work, you may require the employee to reimburse you for those premiums. Do you have a policy outlining this process? Do you have a standard procedures for employees to pay their portion while not receiving pay? Do they pay it while they are out or do you pay it and get reimbursed upon their return? Consistency is key, so you can’t do this on a case-by-case basis. If you don’t have a process, create one. Identify what will happen if the employee does not return for reasons that are not health related. It might not be “worth” the complications and time required to recapture those dollars, OR it may represent quite a large number for a bigger employer. Your payroll team, system or vendor need to be aligned with your termination processes.
Resources: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28a.htm and a previous blog topic about the importance of Rights and Responsibilities