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Your Questions (April 2019)
April 29, 2019
Parsons Behle & Latimer Legal Briefings

Q. One of our employees is caring for her daughter (over the age of 18) because of complications from childbirth. Does care of a child over 18 qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

A. Yes, the leave allowed under the FMLA extends to an employee’s care of a child, spouse or parent suffering from a serious health condition, regardless of age.

Q. For exempt staff who aren’t working a full 40-hour week—for example, they come in late every day and work only 35 hours—can we deduct that time from their salary or vacation leave?

A. The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) requires an employer to compensate an exempt employee the predetermined weekly salary for every week in which any work is performed, so any deductions from salary here would result in the loss of FLSA exemptions for the exempt staff. Regarding a deduction from accrued vacation, as long as your vacation policy is considered a bona fide benefits plan under the FLSA, the deduction would not be prohibited by law.

Q. We are looking to hire seasonal employees, preferably students, to work for 90 to 120 days. They will work 40 hours per week. What benefits must we provide?

A. While you will need to provide these seasonal employees with the unemployment, social security and worker’s compensation benefits that are required for all employees, federal and Idaho state law do not require further benefits.

Q. When a company goes out of business, are the employees eligible for COBRA coverage? Our company is closing, and we have been told COBRA exists only if a health plan exists.

A. The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides former employees the right to continue coverage under an existing group health plan. If the company is closing and no entity is assuming the obligation to provide continuing health insurance coverage, COBRA will no longer be available because the business’s health care plan through which they intended to obtain COBRA coverage no longer exists.

Jason R. Mau is an attorney in the Boise office of Parsons Behle & Latimer.  He can be reached at 208-562-4898 or jmau@parsonsbehle.com

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