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.