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e-CFR data is current as of August 13, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter CPart 826 → §826.110


Title 29: Labor
PART 826—PAID LEAVE UNDER THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (Eff. until 12-31-20)


§826.110   Health care coverage.

(a) While an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave, an Employer must maintain the Employee's coverage under any group health plan (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 5000(b)(1)) on the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the Employee had been continuously employed during the entire leave period. All Employers covered by the EPSLA or the EFMLEA are subject to the requirement to maintain health coverage. The term “group health plan” has the same meaning as under the FMLA (see §825.102 of this chapter). Maintenance of individual health insurance policies purchased by an Employee from an insurance provider, as described in §825.209(a) of this chapter, is the responsibility of the Employee.

(b) The same group health plan benefits provided to an Employee prior to taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave must be maintained while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. For example, if family member coverage is provided to an Employee, family member coverage must be maintained while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. Similarly, benefit coverage for medical care, surgical care, hospital care, dental care, eye care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, etc., must be maintained while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave if provided in an Employer's group health plan, including a supplement to a group health plan, whether or not provided through a flexible spending account or other component of a cafeteria plan.

(c) If an Employer provides a new health plan or benefits or changes health benefits or plans while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave, the Employee is entitled to the new or changed plan/benefits to the same extent as if the Employee was not on leave. Any other plan changes (e.g., in coverage, premiums, deductibles, etc.) which apply to all Employees of the workforce would also apply to Employees taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave.

(d) Notice of any opportunity to change plans or benefits must also be given to an Employee taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. If the Employee requests the changed coverage, the Employer must provide it.

(e) An Employee remains responsible for paying his or her portion of group health plan premiums which had been paid by the Employee prior to taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. If premiums are raised or lowered, the Employee would be required to pay the new Employee premium contribution on the same terms as other Employees. The Employee's share of premiums must be paid by the method normally used during any paid leave, presumably as a payroll deduction. If leave is unpaid, or the Employee's pay during leave is insufficient to cover the Employee's share of the premiums, the Employer may obtain payment from the Employee in accordance with §825.210(c) of this chapter.

(f) An Employee may choose not to retain group health plan coverage while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. However, when an Employee returns from leave, the Employee is entitled to be reinstated on the same terms as prior to taking the leave, including family or dependent coverages, without any additional qualifying period, physical examination, exclusion of pre-existing conditions, etc.

(g) Except as required by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), an Employer's obligation to maintain health benefits while an Employee is taking Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave ceases under this section if and when the employment relationship would have terminated if the Employee had not taken Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave (e.g., if the Employee fails to return from leave, or if the entitlement to leave ceases because an Employer closes its business).

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