Fmla/cobra premiums due

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An employee took her 12 weeks FMLA leave then notified us that she was not coming back to work.

If she elects COBRA continuation, can I require that she pay the 12 weeks of premiums(her portion)?
Is she not coming back to work by choice, or because she is medically unable to do so?
By choice - then you can require that she does so.

Re character limit - I don't know why this forum was set up with the character limit.
Agree with Betty. Since it's by choice, you can require her to repay you for health insurance premiums.

And the 30 character limit is part of the spam protection.
Spam protection ok! Thanks...............
By choice, no baby sitter. why must our reply be 30 characters?

The professor did that to make life more difficult for SPAMMERS, not posters.
True. But if extending the post to 30 characters will make it difficult for the spamming population, I have no issue with typing in a few anomalies.
You can require she pay her portion of the premiums regardless of whether or not she elects COBRA.
Sure there is. It can be sent to collections and the coverage cancelled as far back as the plan will allow if the premiums are not paid.
Our plan doesn't allow any back cancellations and it really isn't enough money to actively pursue. It's the principal more than anything because we suspected all along that
she didn't plan to return and she just milked the medical and disability coverage.
It shouldn't cost much at all to send it to a collection agency. The fee would come out of what they recover. You may not get the full premium amount back if you go that route but I promise it will prevent this becoming a regular practice. Once we started actually collecting the back premiums, it was amazing how many no longer waited until week 11 to tell us they "couldn't find day care" or "day care arrangements fell through at the last minute".
And this is one good reason to require employees to set up a policy for paying the premium as they go rather than when they return. Either through any pay they receive or through a different method. Now some insurance contracts don't allow for a stop and a re-start, so many employees give a longer grace period. But even in that case, you can require her to pay her part of the premium while she is out.

The DOL has a factsheet on how to do it legally:
Paying the usual employee portion is one thing, but collecting the premiums paid on her behalf is another. For my employers, the employee portion was very small as opposed to what the employer paid. I always have charged the regular employee portion so long as the employee was still receiving pay of some kind.
We're pretty small and mostly men so we don't have that many maternity leaves to deal with.
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