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Not Returning After Maternity Leave/STD Leave, Maryland

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  • Not Returning After Maternity Leave/STD Leave, Maryland

    I'm out on maternity leave and my babysitter has decided to return to work (this is my 2nd child, and I was planning to return to work, with my babysitter to watch both children). I really don't want to put my newborn with someone I hardly know, plus financially it doesn't pay for me to work just to pay for daycare and gas to get back and forth to my job.

    Is there any ramifications of not going back to work after maternity leave? The paperwork I rec'd said that I would have to repay the company for my health insurance if I took unpaid time, but all of my time has been paid and they've been deducting these from my STD paychecks. I'm also owed 6 days of vacation.

    I live in PA, work in MD. Don't know if that makes a difference.

    My date of return from maternity leave is October 21st, but I am using 6 days of vacation, which puts my date of return to October 29th. I was planning to give them two week's notice, but I am worried that they will take away the remainder of my short term disability & vacation. Can they do that?

  • #2
    The laws go by where you work.

    Is this FMLA leave you are on? If you are out on FMLA, and fail to return for reasons within your control for at least 30 days, your employer has the option of requiring you to repay any health insurance premiums they paid on your behalf while you were on leave.

    Regarding your STD benefits - they continue to be paid as per the policy provisions.

    Md. has gone back & forth on vacation pay at termination but most recently it has been decided that whether earned unused vacation is payable at termination is up to co. policy.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      Vacation in MD is due unless there is a well communicated policy to the contrary. The employer doesn't have to allow you to take that vacation before terminating you first though. If you say you aren't coming back, they have the option of letting you go immmediately.

      STD follows the policy. If this is really salary continuation from the employer, then that can terminate when you give notice as well. If it is a policy from an insurance company, so long as you are still "disabled" per the policy, it would still cover you. This is rarely the entire 12 weeks of FMLA.

      If you opt not to return, or return for less than 30 days, your employer may recover the cost of any health insurance premiums they paid on your behalf while you were out. Not every employer does this, but they do have that option.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Effective April 24, 2008, Sections 3-504 and 3-505 of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”) were amended to address for the first time the issue of whether an employer must pay terminated employees for any accrued but unused leave upon termination. Specifically, like in many other states, the amended sections provide that an employer is not required to pay accrued leave to any employee if:

        The employer has a written policy that limits the compensation of accrued leave to employees;
        The employer notified the employee of the employer’s leave benefits in accordance with § 3-504(a)(1); and
        The employee is not entitled to payment for accrued leave at termination under the terms of the employer’s written policy.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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        • #5
          Stay tuned, Betty3. In Maryland, it could change again next week.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            Be fair. Session doesn't start until January. And yes, there is legislation to change this on the agenda. (It has a snow's change in August of actually passing, but that is another matter)
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the replies.

              I wound up in preterm labor at 33.5 weeks, so my FMLA leave is completely exhausted, as I was deemed "disabled" at that point. I don't believe it's a continuation of salary since it's paid thru my employer but certified through an insurance company first, but I could be wrong.

              As for the vacation time, it is what it is.

              In the paperwork HR gave me before I went on leave it said if I took any unpaid time, they would go ahead and pay the health benefits on my behalf, and I would have to repay them when I came back. If I didn't come back, I'd still have to repay them according to their policy. But that only pertained to unpaid leave, and since all my leave up to this point has been paid, I'd assume that I owe them nothing, but I guess we'll see.

              Thanks again for all the replies. They've been helpful. I'm hoping it goes well. I sent my letter of resignation via email this morning. I'm nervously awaiting their reply.

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              • #8
                I think you misunderstand or at least we need further clarification about what portion of the premiums you would need to repay under each circumstance, but to keep it from getting confusing with the couldas, shouldas and maybes, I'll just stick to what applies to you.

                Many employers will just take the employee contribution to the insurance out of the paid leave just as they do out of the regular salary. You were always responsible for this employee portion, whether on paid leave or unpaid leave. Many employers will willingly defer this contribution while an employee is on unpaid leave, until they return. If you fail to return from FMLA, your employer is entitled to collect the entire cost of the premium, so both the employee portion and the employer portion. If you already paid the employee portion, then all that is left to collect is the employer portion. If you deferred payment while on unpaid status, you owe the whole amount.
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                • #9
                  So I gave my notice and the response from the HR dept was that my benefits and employment would end effective today. Can they do that? I thought you paid benefits a month in advance? And I thought they couldn't cut off my short term disability?

                  Is this legal? Basically I gave my notice and I take it as they kind of fired me.

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                  • #10
                    Yes it is legal. When your benefits terminate depends on the way the contract is written. Not all policies are pre-paid or run until the end of the month. About half terminate the same day as employment.

                    Whether or not you still qualify for STD benefits also depends on the insurance contract. It is very unusual for them to be dependent upon employment but if it is really a self funded plan or salary continuation, it is more common.
                    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                    Comment

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