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A game of chance: surgery vs. job loss.
Feb 3, 2003

Hello! I have provided my employer with two weeks notice of my anticipated date of surgery. I have not been employed by this company for one year and therefore am aware that I am not eligible to utilize the FMLA. I have been fore worned by my employer that I do not qualify for the FMLA and that they do not have to hold my position. This I understand, however I am concerned about losing my health benefits during the recovery period. I am fortunate enough to have secondary health coverage through my husband's plan. I am also concerned about having to find work while in recovery. Questions: 1. Since I do not qualify for the FMLA and it is anticipated that I will be out of work for up to 8 weeks, Can my employer terminate me prior to surgery?

2. If my employer terminates me prior to my "leave of absence", will my health benefits be exsponged?

3. Will I be able to collect temporary disability?

4. Following temporary disability, will I be able to collect unemployment (if needed)?

5. Should my employer terminate me during my recovery period, will my termination need to be in written form?

I am anticipating a speedy recovery, however we must always plan for the worst case scenario.

Any answers you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

I thank you:)

Response from Ms. Franzoi

1. I do not think it would be legal to terminate you in anticipation of a surgery unless there are work performance issues to support the termination. However, I suggest you seek legal consul on this. 2. Upon termination of employment, you will have COBRA rights. However, if you have secondary coverage under your spouse's plan, you probably won't have need for COBRA. 3. If you are in one of the 5 states that has a state short term disability program, check with the requirements of that program to determine if and when benefits would commence. If you are covered under a company-sponsored short term disability plan, check the terms of the plan to determine whether or not you will qualify. 4. I am not familiar with how unemployment works. I suggest you contact the state unemployment office in your area to ask them whether or not you would be eligible. 5. Typically, termninations are in writing. However, you should consult with an attorney on this.



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