Many companies overlook the necessity of a Corporate Policy to educate and address the reasoning behind their decision making process. Current employees, as well as new, should be informed as to why certain decisions are made according to company protocol. A good example of this is the extension of health and dental benefits when an employee is approved for a Long Term Disability claim.
The corporate policy booklet should clearly define how long health and dental benefits will be extended while an employee is on long term disability, otherwise there would be no end date and the employer will be responsible for providing these benefits to the employee until their termination age according to the policy contract.
Take an employee who is 41and qualifies for Long Term Disability. According to most group insurance policy contracts, that employee would be eligible to receive health and dental benefits until age 70–29-years! If there is no corporate policy in place, then the company is responsible for contributing their portion to retain this coverage for the impacted employee.
How long a company will continue to offer these benefits to a disabled employee is the decision of the employer; however, once the precedence is set it should be reviewed by legal counsel, maintained and written down for reference for all existing and new employees.
A corporate policy approved by a lawyer will protect the company against expenses in continuing to supply these benefit privileges.
It should also be noted the employment standard act currently deems an employee approved for Long Term Disability to be the same as an employee not on Long Term Disability claim.
If a corporate policy is not present to clearly define how long the company will extend the group health and dental benefits and there is presently an employee approved for Long Term Disability, then as an employer, you should be cautious on how or when you may suddenly decide to terminate these benefits from the employee, which were currently provided when they were not on a disability claim. Without a properly written policy, there are potential legal implications because of the precedent you’ve set by allowing benefits to continue with no defined end date for coverage. Randomly deciding to select a date to terminate these benefits could potentially be viewed as “anti-selection” or “prejudice” and is the very reason why a corporate policy is a must as it will ensure all employees are treated equally.
If there is already corporate policy in place, then the above becomes a non-issue for the employee and their dependents.
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