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Question Corner (June 2019)
June 26, 2019
Parsons Behle & Latimer Legal Briefings

        A newly-hired employee is not yet eligible for coverage under our group health plan. May we pay her COBRA coverage premium while she is in the waiting period?

A:        Paying a new hire’s COBRA coverage during an enrollment waiting period is not prohibited by law. To treat this as a non-taxable health expenditure, I would recommend either providing the employee with a check made directly to the COBRA administrator or reimburse the employee upon receipt of proof of payment. 

Q:        We want to give an important employee a raise to ensure she stays with us, but we don’t want to be unfair to other employees. Are there other ways to retain this employee without upsetting co-workers?

A:        If you believe a raise or bonus to your important employee is unadvisable, you will want to ensure that senior management is acknowledging her and her great work, that she is being provided growth opportunities, i.e. challenging tasks, seminar attendance and other new opportunities and ensure she believes she has been provided a framework within the company in which she perceives she can utilize all of her skills and talents to succeed. 

Q:        One of our employees has asked to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for his adult sibling who has no other family. In this situation, can he take FMLA leave?

A:        The employee would only be able to take FMLA leave if his adult sibling is a covered service member under the FMLA. Typically, leave for care of a family member under the FMLA is limited to children, spouse and parents, but in the case of leave to care for a qualified service member, leave can be extended to the nearest blood relative.

Jason R. Mau is an attorney in the Boise office of Parsons Behle & Latimer.  He can be reached at (208) 562-4898 or by sending an email to


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