I'm 11 weeks pregnant, and have had two other women in my office that have given birth over the past 2 years. They both tell me that if I don't come back to work for at least 2 months after maternity leave, I could be liable to pay back all benefits distributed for birth via insurance, and also my pay. Aren't I, as an employee of 4 years of my company, entitled to this pay, and also, my insurance that I pay for every check?
I tried to ask our HR department, but no one can give me a straight answer.
Please help. I don't know who else to ask!
11-03-2006, 09:17 AM
If you use leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover your maternity leave, the employer is required by law to continue your benefits. If, however, you decide not to come back to work at the end of your maternity leave, the employer can, under FMLA, require you to pay back the full cost of your health insurance premiums for the time that you were on maternity leave. I believe that you have to work at least 30 days (not 2 months) after the end of your maternity in order not to have to pay back the insurance premiums if you then decide to quit.
11-03-2006, 09:27 AM
See, that' s what I don't understand.
I would have to pay back the benefits I'm paying for out of my paycheck every 2 weeks?
And when you say under FMLA... What other way would I take maternity leave? Another one I don't understand.
Also, they tell us that our STD and FMLA run concurrently. What does that have to do with me possibly not coming back to work after maternity leave? Cuz,in actuality, that sounds to me like they're telling me women are entitled to maternity leave, and then they say, well, no you're really not unless you come back to work 30 days (or whatever the time frame is) after maternity leave is over.
11-03-2006, 09:37 AM
FMLA only applies when the employer is of a certain size (50 or more employees within 75 miles of the affected employee's job site) and the employee has worked for the employer more than one year (and more than 1250 in the most recent year). It provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave with job protection. Many, many women in this country are not covered by FMLA because the employer is too small or they haven't worked long enough to be covered. These women therefore have no legal job protection when they are on maternity.
Because FMLA leave is unpaid, many employers choose to offer short-term disability policies to provide income replacement for the time that employees are out on leave. STD is income replacement, not another form of leave. We can't know the terms of your STD policy, but generally most would continue to pay you for the time that you are physically disabled from giving birth even if you choose not to return to work.
FMLA requires employers to continue an employee's health insurance while they are on medical leave (whether it's for maternity or a broken leg). Again, many women in this country do not have a guarantee of continued health insurance while they are on maternity. If a person who is on FMLA leave does not return to work and it is not due to circumstances beyond their control (i.e., someone who is very seriously ill and is not well enough after 12 weeks to be able to return to work), the law allows employer to recoup the cost of the health insurance premiums it has paid on the employee's behalf.
11-03-2006, 09:39 AM
And that is only if the employer decides to act upon the law that allows them to recoup the benefits paid out by them, correct? It doesn't automatically happen?
11-03-2006, 09:52 AM
That's correct. The law says they MAY, not that they MUST.
11-06-2006, 11:31 AM
So... if an employee is on STD (for maternity) and they do not return when the doctor says they can, can they be terminated?
Who pays the medical insurance premiums when the person is on STD?
If they don't return from STD and lose their job, can we recoup money used for STD/Premiums (if we have to pay them)?
11-06-2006, 11:45 AM
I'm flipping this over to cbg or ElleMD or Megan. :p
11-06-2006, 12:11 PM
Whether nor not they can be fired if they do not return when the doctor says they can, depends on whether or not FMLA applies. If it does not, they can be fired for not returning. If it does, then if they do not return when 12 weeks are up, they can be fired.
STD and FMLA are two entirely different things that serve two entirely different purposes. STD is income replacement.It is NOT leave time. FMLA is leave time.
FMLA and STD can and often do run concurrently. However, they do not offer the same protections.
Being on STD provides you with no job protection whatsoever. There is no requirement that your employer pay your health insurance premiums and you can be fired for not returning.
FMLA provides you with up to 12 weeks of job protection. During that 12 weeks, your employer must pay the same amount of your health insurance premiums that he would pay if you were working (i.e. if an active employee pays 20% of their health insurance, an employee on FMLA still has to pay that 20%). Once the 12 weeks of FMLA expires, you have no further guarantee of job protection and your employer has no further obligation to pay anything towards your health insurance. This remains true regardless of whether or not you are still collecting STD benefits or not.
If you CHOOSE not to return after FMLA (as opposed to being medically unable to return) your employer is specifically permitted by law to recoup what he has paid on your behalf towards health insurance premiums. Many employers do not bother, but they are permitted to do so by law.
11-06-2006, 01:04 PM
Pattymd and cbg,
Thank you both so much. I guess I need to see what precedent we set when she had her first child re: paying of medical premiums.
We do have it in our employee handbook that vacation is not accrued on any leave of absence over 30 days.
I guess, technically, since she is using STD - she will be on an unpaid leave of absence, using STD as an income supplement? Is that correct verbiage?
Thanks in advance!
11-06-2006, 03:19 PM
That is correct. YOU are not paying her; your disability carrier is providing her with a temporary income replacement.
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