Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 55. Department of Human Resource Management
Chapter 20. Commonwealth of Virginia Health Benefits Program
10/1/2020

1VAC55-20-380. Leave of Absence.

Note: This section addresses various aspects of employee leave and may or may not be applicable to a local employer.

A. Leave of absence with full pay. As long as an employee is still receiving full pay, health benefits coverage continues with the employer making its contribution. No action is required.

Local employers are not required to contribute toward coverage for any part-time employee granted any type of leave of absence.

B. Virginia Sickness and Disability Program, Long-Term Disability (VSDP-LTD).

1. LTD-working employees continue in active coverage until the end of the month in which the employee transitions to LTD-not working.

2. Coverage with the employer contribution continues to the end of the month in which the LTD benefits begin, unless benefits begin on the first day of the month, in which case the employer contribution will end on the last day of the preceding month. Thereafter, employees may continue coverage by paying the entire cost of the coverage.

3. Employees receiving LTD benefits may enroll in the State Retiree Health Benefits Program upon service retirement regardless of whether they have maintained health coverage in the state program provided that the individuals have been continuously covered and have had no break in long-term disability benefits prior to service retirement. The LTD participant has 31 days from the date of retirement to enroll in the State Retiree Health Benefits Program. Coverage in the retiree group begins on the first day of the first full month of retirement.

C. Educational leave -- full or partial pay. An official educational leave is a leave for educational reasons with partial or full pay maintained for the leave, not for work rendered. It is possible to maintain health coverage on an educational leave even when less than full pay is given provided that at least half pay is given. Coverage may continue for the duration of the leave up to 24 months.

D. Leave of absence without pay.

1. Coverage with the employer contribution continues to the end of the month in which the leave without pay begins provided the first day of the leave is after the first work day of the month. If the person returns from leave the following month and works at least half of the workdays in the month, coverage will be continuous. If the leave without pay begins on or before the first work day of the month, coverage and the employer contribution ceases on the last calendar day of the previous month.

2. Employees who do not want to continue coverage will be asked to sign a waiver.

E. Changing coverage while on leave. Coverage changes may be made while on leave in the same manner that changes may be made while actively employed. The same procedures and rules apply.

An employee enrolled in an alternative health benefits plan who moves out of the plan's service area while on a leave of absence may change to another plan offered by the department in his new location by taking an enrollment action within 60 days of the date of the move.

F. Returning from leave without pay.

1. Employees who have maintained coverage while on leave without pay. If the employee has maintained coverage while on leave, the employee's coverage in the health benefits program (with the employer making its contribution) will begin on the first of the month following the date the employee returns to full-time employment. However, if the return to work falls on the first day of the month then the employer contributions may begin immediately. It is not necessary for the employee to take a new enrollment action.

Employees may change from single to dual or family membership within 60 days of returning from leave without pay if the employee dropped dual or family membership during the leave or if there was a qualifying mid-year event during the leave. A new enrollment action must be taken. In the case of a qualifying mid-year event, the effective date would follow the rule on initiating dual or family membership at the time of the particular qualifying mid-year event.

2. Employees who have not maintained coverage while on leave will be treated in the same manner as new employees, unless they have exercised their rights under the Family Medical Leave Act. If these rights are exercised, they will have all rights that are required by law.

a. It shall be necessary to take a new enrollment action to receive coverage. The enrollment action shall indicate the date the employee returned to work as the date that the employee's continuous full-time employment commenced.

b. The employee has a choice of type of membership and plan.

c. The usual deadlines for filing apply. Coverage begins according to the rules and procedures for new employees.

3. Employees returning from military leave for active service. Employees returning from military leave of 30 days or more have the same choice of coverage as a new employee. If the employee returning from a military leave applies for coverage within 31 days of discharge, the coverage will begin on either the first day of the month of discharge or the first of the following month, whichever is necessary to effect continuous coverage.

4. Taking a second leave without pay. If an employee returns from a leave without pay and is employed full-time on every scheduled work day for at least one full calendar month before taking another leave without pay, the second leave will be treated as a new leave. If there is less than one calendar month of full-time employment between leaves without pay, the leaves will be treated as one, regardless of the types of leave. The length of time that coverage may be continued will depend on the current type of leave.

Statutory Authority

§ 2.2-2818 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR525-01-02 § 4.7, eff. November 21, 1990; amended, Volume 20, Issue 20, eff. July 16, 2004; Volume 30, Issue 14, eff. April 24, 2014.

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