Senators JD Vance (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently introduced the Fairness for Stay-at-Home Parents Act (S 3048). The bill would add "birth of a child" as a protected reason for not returning to work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in relation to group health care premiums.
If enacted, the bill would prohibit employers from recovering health care premiums and require them to continue their health premium contributions during the 12-weeks of FMLA leave.
While on FMLA leave, employers may require employees to pay their share of group health care premiums.
Presently, employers subject to the FMLA may recover health care premiums they paid from employees who don't return to work from family leave for certain reasons:
Other circumstances beyond the employee's control would NOT include a situation where:
If enacted, the bill would add "birth of a child" to the reasons employers may not recover premiums from employees who choose to not return to work.
Employers would need to notify employees who take leave for the birth of a child that employers may not recover any premium that the employer paid for maintaining coverage for the employee if the employee fails to return due to the birth.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. It has a small chance of being enacted, but it helps illustrate what's on the minds of members of Congress.
Key to Remember: Members of Congress continue to work to amend the federal FMLA, this time in relation to reasons employees may choose to not return to work without risking their group health care premium repayments.
This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.