Medical leave question

Mrs. Bradbury

It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
Joined
May 11, 2009
Asking for a family member ~

Reader's Digest version is she moved for her current job and hates it, but began having medical problems so has been out almost longer than she's been employed.

She's on non-FMLA medical leave right now, and is being paid short term disability and has health insurance through her job. She does not want to go back to her current employer and has been looking for jobs, and has what she considers to be a good job offer.

The question is, can she quit her job while she's on medical leave and not have financial repercussions? Back in the day, medical leave was an agreeement - you went on leave and kept your benefits, and in turn you agreed to come back. I can remember women having children (including myself) being cagey about coming back to work because otherwise, if you announced your intention to become a SAHM after the birth, they would terminate you as of your last day worked - no leave paid or insurance benefits.

She is afraid that her employer will want her to reimburse them for, at a minimum, the employer portion of her health insurance premium or worst case scenario, for the insurance claims that have been paid during her leave as well as her short term disability and insurance premiums.

She consulted an attorney, who said no they wouldn't do that, but just today one of her doctors told her that yes the employer could do it.

It's pretty obvious to ME that the safest and easiest thing is to just go back to the job for a day and put in her notice, but she's not wanting to miss out on what she considers to be a great opportunity in this new job offer. So does anyone have stories/experiences that would be helpful?
 

loves to dive

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2011
Take this with a grain of salt. I used to be HR at my company, STD is insurance and has no effect on her employment status. You do not have to pay it back. I would assume the company she works for is big enough to have an employee handbook so I would suggest she start there. We were pretty careful to put any loopholes in the handbook, if it wasn't in the handbook, then the company couldn't enforce it. We had a number of people go out on STD, most pregnant women on maternity leave, who decided not to come back to work after having the child.
 
  • starry_solo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2010
    Don't burn any bridges. Doesn't the new employer expect her to give notice to her current employer?

    Other issues I foresee is her current medical condition.
     

    SteveH

    Where's my Mai Tai?
    Joined
    Sep 8, 1999
    The Doctor is not an Attorney, over the years I've gotten a good laugh out of Doctors giving advice like that. The attorney is the one I'd be more inclined to trust. If she's not sure about the first attorney she should consult with another.

    Since it's not FMLA leave the repaying is the part in question, my gut says unless there is something in her employment agreement or Employee Handbook probably not. But like with FMLA all you have to do really is come back to work for a day and all is washed, don't get me started about that though.
     

    FreeTime

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 11, 2000
    I agree with not burning bridges. If she has been at work less than the amount of time that she has been on leave, how does she know she doesn’t enjoy the job? She hasn’t given it enough time. Also, if the new job is in the same industry she runs the risk of industry peers mentioning that she left while on leave, that will look bad. Lastly, regardless of whether she paid a portion of the STD insurance that is covering her, the employer likely still paid a portion. Why take advantage?

    If she had health problems now, will they clear up? If not, will be new employer be as understanding?
     

    barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    i remember a person i supervised who tried to do something like this. i wasn't involved with the top h/r department portion of the situation but i recall there was some kind of issue with the timing of it. something about the new employer finding out that she was on med leave from us and then requiring a full release for duty from her doctor thus delaying her start date with them but then our employer's short term disability insurance questioning why when all of a sudden a new job was offered both the employee and their doctor claiming she was totally recovered. it had never been an issue with something like a pregnancy where it was a fairly set period time with staff and they decided to not return but when it was someone who had been off, extended it, extended it, extended it then POOF was totally recovered and gone, our insurer questioned it (and the new employer and their insurer were already on notice in the event the disability reoccurred).

    i would also get legal advice.
     
  • tink89

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2017
    Sorry it is just a bit confusing how she would be able to work at the job they are offering her if she is currently on medical leave. Is she lying about not being able to work? or is It a different type of job that will have different duties? Im sure the insurance company will want to know how is she able to work at another job but getting disability from them.
     

    _19disnA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2018
    I wouldn’t trust any well meaning advice given on the internet! Each situation is different- she can’t follow advice and say so-and-so on disboards said it was ok.
    I agree, everyone on the net tends to have an opinion and whether or not there have any facts to back that up tends to not matter. Each company may also be different in how their coverage works. Any input you get from here are simply guesses without knowing the company and what exactly the medical condition is. Depends also on whether this is an entry level job with basic skills or something higher up in the company where they tend to have more flexibility in how the rules apply. Opinions from doctors or lawyers may sound official, but are still just opinions. If the OP is asking on behalf of someone else, also no way to know if you have all of the necessary information or just what they want you to know.

    Would never make decisions about leaving a job based on random internet opinions.
     
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    OrangeBirdGirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 3, 2014
    I think she needs to check her current employer's personnel manual. I don't recall specifics of ours, as I'm not in this situation. But ours states something to the effect if we do that our last paycheck is charged out for our sick time paid. We have a very generous sick leave policy (could accumulate 960 hours of sick time). If we don't have enough on our last check to cover all the sick time then the employer does not come back to you for more out of pocket. But stuff such as vacation pay out, the time is taken out of that. There are stipulations in the event you are on leave and you are not able to return to work for a medical condition and have to leave employment, then you are not charged back.
     

    Mrs. Bradbury

    It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
    Joined
    May 11, 2009
    Thank all of you for your input. I'll give a blanket answer to questions asked - yes, this is the entire story. She is scheduled (by her doctor) to go back to work the end of this month and it doesn't appear that anything will hinder that. The new job is supposed to start a week after her return to work date. She was out over the summer, came back for a couple of months, and then has been out for 6 weeks or so. She really is sick and hasn't been faking it just to stay out. This has cost her her savings and she is having to accept help from the family to make ends meet; she is desperate to be earning a living again. She says she doesn't have a personnel manual, unless it's in her locker at work. Full disclosure: I have no idea where my own personnel manual might be, LOL. I agree that even an attorney's opinion is just that - an opinion.

    Her employer has an HR department, but the problem with that is HR works for the company, not the employees, when it's all said and done. Because it seems she has run out of options, I have encouraged her to "show her hand" to the HR person she's been working with and find out what repercussions there might be. I mean, it's a free country; she doesn't HAVE to stay at that job. But I agree with everyone, I feel it would behoove her to try her best to leave on good terms.
     
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  • wishuponastar1984

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2017
    You mention that she moved because of her current job. Was her move financed by the company and if so has she fulfilled any stipulations with regard to the cost of the move? It sounds like she will have a week back at her current job. If the new job is really all that she thinks it could be there is no reason they wouldn't let her start a week later. Finding qualified candidates is challenging. Is this new job in the same industry or with a competitor? The reason I ask is depending on what she does the group of people across companies can be a very small population. I have a fairly niche skill set with only a handful of firms doing this. I know folks at all the firms and we definitely talk about candidates.
     

    gottalovepluto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2014
    Her employer has an HR department, but the problem with that is HR works for the company, not the employees, when it's all said and done. Because it seems she has run out of options, I have encouraged her to "show her hand" to the HR person she's been working with and find out what repercussions there might be. I mean, it's a free country; she doesn't HAVE to stay at that job. But I agree with everyone, I feel it would behoove her to try her best to leave on good terms.
    You are right, she needs to contact HR. I would not show anything in the hand besides "I'd like a copy of my benefits package and new hire paperwork please." If they press her she can say in full honesty say she's getting her records in order. I would definitely not tell them she might be taking another job as the last thing she needs is the insurance company to start questing everything.
     

    afan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2014
    Thank all of you for your input. I'll give a blanket answer to questions asked - yes, this is the entire story. She is scheduled (by her doctor) to go back to work the end of this month and it doesn't appear that anything will hinder that. The new job is supposed to start a week after her return to work date. She was out over the summer, came back for a couple of months, and then has been out for 6 weeks or so. She really is sick and hasn't been faking it just to stay out. This has cost her her savings and she is having to accept help from the family to make ends meet; she is desperate to be earning a living again. She says she doesn't have a personnel manual, unless it's in her locker at work. Full disclosure: I have no idea where my own personnel manual might be, LOL. I agree that even an attorney's opinion is just that - an opinion.

    Her employer has an HR department, but the problem with that is HR works for the company, not the employees, when it's all said and done. Because it seems she has run out of options, I have encouraged her to "show her hand" to the HR person she's been working with and find out what repercussions there might be. I mean, it's a free country; she doesn't HAVE to stay at that job. But I agree with everyone, I feel it would behoove her to try her best to leave on good terms.
    Couldn't she just go back to work on her date and give a 1 week notice. I know 2 is slightly more customary but I think that's changing some these days. Or way and turn it in the following day. At that point she's gone back to work so I don't see what the difference would be with working a few more days. I've worked where women don't come back from maternity and get kinda sketchy about telling you stuff while they're out. If she's ok with potentially burning a bridge I would just give notice the week she's back but go back.
     

    Mrs. Bradbury

    It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
    Joined
    May 11, 2009
    You mention that she moved because of her current job. Was her move financed by the company and if so has she fulfilled any stipulations with regard to the cost of the move? It sounds like she will have a week back at her current job. If the new job is really all that she thinks it could be there is no reason they wouldn't let her start a week later. Finding qualified candidates is challenging. Is this new job in the same industry or with a competitor? The reason I ask is depending on what she does the group of people across companies can be a very small population. I have a fairly niche skill set with only a handful of firms doing this. I know folks at all the firms and we definitely talk about candidates.
    You know, I think she did get a moving allowance. Boy, that adds another wrinkle. New job is in same industry as the old job, in a very in-demand field, but I think it's also a pretty big field.
     

    Mrs. Bradbury

    It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
    Joined
    May 11, 2009
    You are right, she needs to contact HR. I would not show anything in the hand besides "I'd like a copy of my benefits package and new hire paperwork please." If they press her she can say in full honesty say she's getting her records in order. I would definitely not tell them she might be taking another job as the last thing she needs is the insurance company to start questing everything.
    Thank you, I've passed this on to her!
     

    Mrs. Bradbury

    It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
    Joined
    May 11, 2009
    Couldn't she just go back to work on her date and give a 1 week notice. I know 2 is slightly more customary but I think that's changing some these days. Or way and turn it in the following day. At that point she's gone back to work so I don't see what the difference would be with working a few more days. I've worked where women don't come back from maternity and get kinda sketchy about telling you stuff while they're out. If she's ok with potentially burning a bridge I would just give notice the week she's back but go back.
    I agree with you. If nothing else works out, I think it's reasonable, not ideal but reasonable, to give a week's notice. It may be that she can't do this particular job anymore due to demands of the job and stress.
     

    barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    You know, I think she did get a moving allowance. Boy, that adds another wrinkle. New job is in same industry as the old job, in a very in-demand field, but I think it's also a pretty big field.
    def. needs to check on that as well as any other payback provisions w/her employer.

    have a relative who failed to look at this when he left one job for another-got hit with a bill for among other things the cost of some training he had received during the time he was with the employer he left b/c he did'nt stay the minimum amount of time (and DANG those same trainings could have been done for a fraction of the cost on 'the outside' vs. what company billed for b/c they hired private firm to come in and do it). it can add up to a chunk of change.
     

    QueenIsabella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    She definitely has to look into the reimbursed moving expenses. It's customary to have to work 12 months before they're covered--with my DH, the one time this came into play, it was pro-rated--he worked 3 months after the move, so he got 25% of the typical expenses.

    If this field is in high-demand, I suggest she stay with the first company until she's met all the criteria (I don't know on the medical leave stuff). She can find another job once she's hit that milestone, and not have to worry about paying the company back.
     

    morgan98

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 29, 2010
    I agree about the moving allowance and they often have a payback period attached.

    As to the rest, I have an idea her current employer will have no trouble with her resigning. Face it, she really has not been working and it is probably causing some issues for them on their end. (coverage, etc.) They will let her go and be fine with moving on in all probability.

    Once someone goes on leave, it is much harder for am employer to move on in terms of termination, even if there are performance issues because it could be interpreted as retaliation.

    This will be chalked up to a situation that just didn't work out.

    We have had situations like this, and we breathe a big sigh when the person resigns. And the employer probably knows she is not happy anyway.
     

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