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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I have worked for a company for 7 years. I pay my husbands

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I have worked for a company for 7 years. I pay my husbands health insurance (anything over $808) per month. His medical insurance increased in 2011 and 2012. I was never informed of the increase and it was never deducted from my paycheck. Now my employer wants me to pay back $3,095. Can he legally ask me to pay this back 2 years after the fact and do I legally have to pay it back?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Can you tell me if you are responsible for 100% of your husband's premiums. Did you have any agreement with your employer that you would only pay a certain amount for his health insurance?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There was no official agreement in writing or signed document. There was a verbal agreement that I would pay anything over $808 per month. I was never informed of the increase until about a week ago. I had 2 annual reviews at which time I am typically informed of the increase. This year I was informed of the increase and the prior two years of differences were never mentioned at that time. They paid the medical insurance bills every month for two years so they knew there was increase.
Hello Carol,

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

There is nothing illegal about your employer ASKING you to repay the health costs. However, in order to actually enforce that against you, they would have to sue you to try to recover. It would be difficult for them to make out a cause of action, however, for failing to inform you of the increases and not getting your prior consent to pay the additional premiums before paying for them themselves.

You would also have the argument that the payment of the health care benefits amounted to a payment of wages, so your employer is not legally authorized to collect this amount, since due to California Labor Code Section 221:

"It shall be unlawful for any employer to collect or receive
from an employee any part of wages theretofore paid by said employer
to said employee."

Has your employer given you any reason(s) why they failed to inform you about the increases, didn't make any additional deductions and are only requesting the money now?

Have they also showed you proof that the premiums on your husband have actually increased?
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My employer never showed me proof of the increase in premiums and they did not tell me until about 2 weeks ago. I was sent an email saying I didn't reimburse them for his insurance premiums per our agreement. Nothing was said about them neglecting to inform me of the increase. Today he came to me asking how I wanted to pay them back. My response was "I'm not". I don't think I should have to pay for a bookkeeping error on their part two years after the fact. I knew the labor code indicating that they could not withhold monies without written consent. I just wanted to make sure legally I don't have to reimburse them after they paid the bill every month and never mentioned to me that there was an increase. I explained that if they had done so at the time I would have been more than happy to pay the increase in premiums (even though nothing was ever in writing). This is a CPA firm and we are supposed to be the experts.


 


I was not given a reason as to why they failed to inform me about the increase.

Hello Carol,

This is a legally 'grey' area, as I mentioned above, as there is no law that actually prevents your employer from recouping this amount. There is no law in place saying that your employer cannot ask or require that you repay an accidental overpayment in wages or in benefits. They can just not recoup amounts that were paid for wages.

Apologies for any confusion, but I was trying to give you an argument that you could legally make despite there not being any direct law on your side.

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