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Coronavirus Pandemic: Federal law ensuring continuation of employee group health insurance benefits

Americans may be concerned about taking time off from work to care for a spouse, child or parent diagnosed with the corona virus for fear of losing group health insurance benefits at a time when these benefits are absolutely essential.

In certain situations, the employee's job and all important group health insurance benefits would be protected by the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").

The FMLA was enacted, in part, “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families…in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers…” See 29 USC 2601(b).

The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take leave including but not limited to the following:

(C) In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition.

(D) Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee. 29 USC 2612(a)(1).

The FMLA applies to both private employers and municipalities. See 29 USC 2611(4)(A)(iii).

The FMLA is enforced by the United States Department of Labor ("DOL").

For more information about the FMLA, please visit the DOL's website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla