Leave of Absence from Work?
Is it reasonable to request that my employer maintain my benefits (medical insurance and keep the clock going on my 401K vesting schedule)? i would obviously not expect pay during this period. however, it would be great if they could continue kicking in my medical insurance (i'd pay the leftover employee contribution amont).
i think i'm pretty good where they wouldn't want me to resign, but i would have to if they don't grant the leave of absence (with benefits, or without benefits).
It's, sorry, asking a lot. But you never know. Depends on your job and such. Maybe ask during the work week when a lot of people are around here.
Unfortunately, unless your employer is downright saintly, I doubt they'll cover you during a LOA. My company is pretty hip and the best they did for me was allow me to use the minimum amount of PTO (vacation) hours necessary to cover benefits during a given pay period; this let me string my benefits along for about 3 months. So if you have vacation time accrued you might want to ask for similar setup if they'll do the creative accounting.
Otherwise I would suggest picking up some traveler's insurance that has emergency medical benefits on the policy. It shouldn't cost you too much.
Hope some of that helps and I'd be happy to answer any of your questions. Good luck!
"Don't forget thisâ€”it's the law of the universe
that the strong shall survive and the weak must
fall by the way, and I don't give a damn what
idealistic plan is cooked up, nothing can change
that." --Walt Disney
I think asking to keep the 401K vesting schedule is reasonable. Although if you haven't been there long enough to be vested they might be less inclined to work with you. But you never know until you ask.
Good luck & enjoy your time off!
More important is to make sure you insurance that you do have covers your shots/travel meds before you go away. Those can be EXPENSIVE.
Since Harpua is talking about a 4-5 month leave of absense, assuming he/she is coming back, it may make sense to maintain the health insurance even if he/she has to pay for it entirely while gone. (ouch $) Cobra is not insurance. It's (I think) legislation that allows you to stay on your old companies health plan after you've quit or been fired. All paid by you.
Useless overseas? Maybe. Worth keeping? Maybe.
I quit a job 10 years ago and kept my health insurance via cobra because otherwise I would have had to shop for new stuff. (blech). There have been times since....when if I had NOT kept my coverage I would NOT have been able to get health insurance at ANY price (because I'm self-employed). It's a state to state thing, in that regard. But there was honestly no health insurance company in my state (WA) that would write a policy for a self-employed person at certain points in time. (Unless I joined some group or union that would allow me to sign onto their group policy.)
Health insurance is so f-ed up in the U.S.
Sorry for your situation harpua.
They should also be able to help with the insurance issue. Lots of different variables on this one. Highly doubtful that they would cover the whole cost over that period of time but if you don't ask....
..~ ~ |
"Qian li zhi xing, shi yu zu xia." - Chinese proverb
Until last week I actually worked in Human Resources and was responsible for processing leaves of absence (LOAs). Here is my (long) response on your questions:
First & foremost, every company is different so if you have an HR or personnel department it is ESSENTIAL that you talk to them. You can even talk to them before your boss. If you ask them to keep your conversation confidential they should do so. Even if your boss has already agreed terms with you, confirm them with your HR department before you buy your plane tickets and leave. Bosses have been know to make promises that are impossible for them to keep because they simply did not know the rules.
That said, definitely ask for the LOA and ask them to cover your benefits and continue your vesting; the worst they can say is no. My guess is that if they like you, you probably will get the leave of absence. They probably won't be able to continue your benefits and vesting however. Most companies (particularly large companies) have strict rules about these things which they can't break even if they want to. They may allow you to use vacation/ PTO, however. There is a good chance that they will continue to cover your benefits and continue your vesting while you are still being paid.
It would also help to know how long your benefits will continue after you are no longer being paid and are on your LOA. For example, where I worked benefits were paid a month ahead of time. What that meant was that your benefits were paid throught the end of the month following the month you stopped working. (So, if your last day was anytime between 12/1 and 12/31 your benefits are good through 1/31.) If your company works in a similar way, you could get some benefits for a while after you stop working.
If you can't continue your benefits through your company, you should be able to COBRA. (COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation act -- there's some useless info for you.) The important part though is that it should allow you to continue with your benefits -- the catch is that you will have to pay both the employer and employee contribution, so it is usually expensive. (I know that this is the law in CA -- I'm not sure if its a state or federal law though, so definitely check w/ HR on the details and the cost.) You might well be better off with travel insurance. You will probably be able to restart your benefits once you return to work, but again, check with HR on how to do this.
On a final note, you mentioned that your grandmother is aging. Hopefully she is healthy, but if she is not and your personal leave of absence is turned down, the situation may qualify you to take Family and Medical Leave for up to 12 weeks. Let me know if you would like any more info.
I hope that this helped.
I'm almost certain COBRA is federal legislation.
And definitely get any agreement with your boss in writing before you make concrete plans.
Thanks for everyone's help!
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