Ques­tion: We pay half of our employ­ees’ ben­e­fits. If the employ­ee is out on Fam­i­ly and Med­ical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, does the employ­er still have to pay their half, or can we require the employ­ee to pay 100 percent?

Answer: The employ­er must con­tin­ue to pay their por­tion of the premium.

The reg­u­la­tion requires employ­ers to main­tain health ben­e­fits at the same lev­el for the dura­tion of the leave as the employ­ee was at pri­or to going on leave. Addi­tion­al­ly, this also means if the employ­ee was pre­vi­ous­ly pay­ing for a por­tion of their pre­mi­um, they should con­tin­ue to do so while on leave.

If the leave is exhaust­ed and the employ­er extends addi­tion­al time to the employ­ee based on an inter­nal pol­i­cy, health ben­e­fits are not required to be con­tin­ued at that point unless the employ­er has a pol­i­cy or prac­tice of doing so for oth­er employ­ees, in which case it would then be best prac­tice to doc­u­ment that prac­tice as a policy.

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