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We have an employee that was injured at work last October…

We have an employee...

We have an employee that was injured at work last October and has been out ever since...receiving Workers Compensation benefits. We have continued her medical and dental benefits the past year, but now that she has not returned, are we obligated to enroll her in our benefit plan for 2018? May we fill her position and terminate her?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Employment is "at will". The employee had been full time before she was injured.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not at this time.

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Answered in 34 minutes by:
11/15/2017
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,465
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Thanks so much for your patience. Generally, workers’ compensation is separate from personal health care insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance covers work-related injuries and illnesses only.

If the injured employee cancels his/her health benefits while receiving compensation or if they choose not to re-enroll, then you do not have to automatically re-enroll them. I would probably recommend asking the employee whether they would like to re-enroll in the medical benefit plan and give them the choice as if they were not injured or using worker's comp. Regardless, you're not required to give it to her. You cannot terminate the employee because they are on worker's comp though. If you do that, you could be held liable for discrimination. What other questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The employee in question has not canceled her health benefits....we pay for 100% of our employee's HMO (with Kaiser). The issue is that she has not worked since last October and is telling us she may never come back to work. We are in the early stages of "open enrollment" for next year (Jan -Dec 2018). It costs us $876 per month to enroll the employee in our health care plan but I want to know if we are forced to pay for her benefit because in general we only pay this for employees that work more than 30 hours per week (which we consider full time employment).

Thanks for responding! The short answer is no. If she is not meeting the requirements to receive the benefits with Kaisser, then you're not required to pay for her benefits anymore. The workers' comp issue is not a part of the equation. Did you have any other questions for me?

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
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