Ask the ExpertContinuation of Benefits While on Leave
LeanneScott2514UPS Scott asked 6 months ago

I have a Federally regulated employee who left at the end of June 2021 for a six week leave to have a surgery.  He has not returned and we are still paying his benefits.  He initially received STD through Service Canada then was denied LTD through our plan since his over 65.  We have no medical information provided, he does not stay in contact and merely says that he may or may not return, just that he doesn’t know yet. What recourse do we have to either collect the EE share of the benefit cost or have his benefits suspended without actually terminating him?

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 6 months ago

Under the Canada Labour Code, employees are entitled to take a medical leave of no more than 17 weeks. During that time, benefits may not be discontinued, unless there are employee contributions and the employee advises the employer that he or she does not wish to keep these up.
Past that 17 weeks, and I take it that this employee is well past that limit, there is no obligation on the part of the employer.
Strictly speaking employees on such a leave are responsible to pay their share of any benefit costs. However, if they do not or have not made any such arrangements, and especially if they do not return to work, there is very little the employer can do in practice. One possibility is to terminate the employee’s benefit coverage effective as of the start of the leave. The insurance carrier may or may not permit that.  At the very least the coverage can be terminated going forwar