Leave of Absence (LOA)

Benefits Information for Employees on Leave of Absence

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Protected Leave (FML, PDL, Military Leave) and Paid Leave

Benefits will be maintained for employees who are placed on a paid leave of absence or a protected leave of absence such as FML, PDL, or Military Leave. If an employee on protected leave does not have enough earnings to process their benefit deductions during the leave of absence, payroll adjustments will be processed upon return from leave to restore flex credits and collect any missed premium deductions. 
 

Unprotected/Unpaid Leave 

Medical

If an employee is placed on an unprotected, unpaid leave of absence (not eligible for protected leave), their benefits will terminate effective the first of the month following the commencement of the leave of absence with the exception of employees who are offered the option to extend their medical benefits during leave. When this occurs, the employee will be given two options:  

1. Elect the least expensive medical plan and receive partial County paid premium assistance

2. Elect one of the other County medical plans and pay the full premium. 

The Employee Benefits Division’s will mail detailed extended medical plan information to eligible employees. Extended medical plan administration and payments are handled by the County’s 3rd party administrator, ASI COBRA. The deadline to elect coverage is 30 days from the date on the offer letter. 
 

Dental and Vision 

Eligible employees will also be offered the option to continue their dental and vision coverage for up to 18 months at full cost plus a 2% administrative fee. Continuation coverage details will be sent by the County’s Third Party Administrator, ASI COBRA to eligible employees. 
 

Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance  

Continuation of Life and AD&D insurance is offered to eligible employees and can be continued for up to 6 months. The Benefits Division will mail continuation information to eligible employees. The deadline to enroll is 30 days from the date on the offer letter. The premiums must be paid monthly and are at the employee’s own expense. After premiums have been paid for 6 months, the County’s life insurance carrier will offer the employee an option to convert their County policy to an individual policy.

Reimbursement Accounts 

Health Care FSA

  • Your contributions will automatically continue during a Leave of Absence period as long as you continue to receive pay and/or your excess Flex Credits are directed to this account.  
  • Out of pocket Health Care FSA contributions are not taken during paid injury leave.
  • Any missed contributions during unpaid leave or paid injury leave will be processed upon return from leave.
  • If you are on an unpaid leave of absence or paid injury leave, you may be able to revoke your Health Care FSA election during your leave of absence (LOA). If revoked, you would not be eligible to submit claims for expenses incurred during your LOA. Upon return, you can either increase deduction to keep the annual pledge the same or keep the deduction the same and lower the annual pledge. Default will be to keep the per pay period amount the same and lower annual pledge unless employee requests otherwise. Refer to qualifying event instructions below to initiate changes.

Dependent Care FSA

  • Your contributions will automatically continue during a leave of absence if you are on a paid leave of absence.  
  • Although you will continue to contribute to your DCFSA during a leave of absence, dependent care expenses that you incur during the leave will not be eligible for reimbursement due to IRS rules.
  • If you are on an unpaid, protected leave, applicable missed contributions will be processed upon return from leave.
  • If you are on an unpaid leave of absence, you may be able to terminate or lower your Dependent Care FSA election. Refer to qualifying event instructions below to initiate changes.

Reinstatement of Terminated Benefits

If an employee’s benefits are terminated during an unpaid, unprotected leave of absence, benefits will be reinstated as follows:

The employee’s health plan coverages will be reinstated the first of the following month after the employee’s return from leave (RFL) date. 

• If the employee was enrolled in supplemental life insurance prior to their unpaid leave of absence and the employee did not continue to pay their life premiums while on leave, the employee will need to re-apply for supplemental life insurance by completing a Statement of Health (SOH) application. The SOH application will be provided to the employee by the Benefits Division. 

• If the employee continued to pay their life premium while on leave of absence, their supplemental life insurance will be reinstated the first of month after their return from leave date. 
 

Making Changes to Your Benefits

After Open Enrollment, you can only make changes to your benefits if you experience a qualifying life event. “Qualifying Life Events” include:

• Marriage

• Annulment of marriage, divorce or legal separation

• Entering into or terminating a domestic partnership

• Birth of a child, adoption, placement for adoption

• Leave of absence (under certain circumstances)

• Losing or gaining coverage.

You have 60 days from the date of the qualifying event to make changes to your County of San Diego benefit elections. Any change you make must be consistent with the qualifying life event change.

To start a qualifying life event while you are on leave of absence, email the supporting documentation and the LOA Qualifying Life Event Change Form (link below) to dhrbenefits.fgg@sdcounty.ca.gov before the 60 day deadline.