I was recently on medical leave for apx 4 months. I received FMLA and short term disability pay while on leave. Upon returning to work my employer raised my dental and medical premiums over 400% without any notice or authorization. When I questioned the additional deductions I was told that insurance premiums were not withheld from my short term disability pay and they were "catching up" on premiums. The net result of their "catching up" is OVER $700.00 SHORTAGE OF MY NET PAY. IS THIS LEGAL? WHO will pay my mortgage this month? I suspect there is more missing funds resulting from the switch to disability benifits and back to normal payroll. My wife and I are still trying to figure out how the transition check (disability pay week overlapped payroll cycle) was several hundred short itself. This is in ADDITION to the $700.00 plus in additional deductions.
Do I have any recourse or do I just refer the mortgage company to my employer's accounting department?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your mortgage obligation is between you and you lender, not your employer.
As for the employment issue, request that your employer provide a full accounting. If they are making deductions from your pay they must follow Illinois law which provides:
"(820 ILCS 115/9) (from Ch. 48, par. 39m-9)
Sec. 9. Except as hereinafter provided, deductions by employers from wages or final compensation are prohibited unless such deductions are (1) required by law; (2) to the benefit of the employee; (3) in response to a valid wage assignment or wage deduction order; (4) made with the express written consent of the employee, given freely at the time the deduction is made; ..."
Also, for the portion that is FMLA, your employer is required to have made your insurance premium payments and you are responsbile only for your portion of the premiums. From the Department of Labor website:
A covered employer is required to maintain group health insurance coverage, including family coverage, for an employee on FMLA leave on the same terms as if the employee continued to work.
Where appropriate, arrangements will need to be made for employees taking unpaid FMLA leave to pay their share of health insurance premiums. For example, if the group health plan involves co-payments by the employer and the employee, an employee on unpaid FMLA leave must make arrangements to pay his or her normal portion of the insurance premiums to maintain insurance coverage, as must the employer. Such payments may be made under any arrangement voluntarily agreed to by the employer and employee.
An employer's obligation to maintain health benefits under FMLA stops if and when an employee informs the employer of an intent not to return to work at the end of the leave period, or if the employee fails to return to work when the FMLA leave entitlement is exhausted. The employer's obligation also stops if the employee's premium payment is more than 30 days late and the employer has given the employee written notice at least 15 days in advance advising that coverage will cease if payment is not received.
In some circumstances, the employer may recover premiums it paid to maintain health insurance coverage for an employee who fails to return to work from FMLA leave. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/1421.htm
Many firms, like mine, provide a telephone consultation at no cost. Do yourself a favor and contact a qualified employment attorney.