University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

Personal Leave of Absence

Basic Benefits During an Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence

During an unpaid leave of absence, the University discontinues its contribution toward the cost of your medical, dental, and life insurance benefits. You have the option to continue these benefits and your flexible spending accounts (health care and/or dependent care); however, you will be responsible for paying for the full cost of the coverage. Once you return to active employment, you will again receive the University's contribution, if eligible.

Continuation of Benefits While on an Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence

You may continue all, some, or none of your benefits while on an unpaid leave of absence. If you choose to continue some or all of your benefits, you will be directly billed for the cost of the coverage.

During an unpaid leave of absence, the following provisions apply:

  • You are required to pay the full group cost for any benefits you choose to continue during your unpaid leave of absence.
  • If you are leaving the plan's service area for at least three months, contact Employee Benefits.
  • Your benefits can be continued for a maximum of 18 months under federal and state continuation provisions (COBRA). If your leave should extend beyond 18 months, medical and life insurance benefits that were continued may be converted to an individual policy without evidence of good health if application is made within 31 days.
  • If you are employed on the basis of an academic year (B, J, K, L, M term, etc.) and go on an unpaid leave of absence, whether the University contributes towards your benefits during the summer months will depend on the timing of your leave and term of appointment. Any benefits you did not continue can only be reinstated when you return to active employment.
  • Your coverage will terminate if the required coverage costs are not paid within the grace period after the due date or if the University's group benefits plan is no longer in force for any employees.
  • Medical and Dental

    If you wish to continue medical and/or dental coverage for your dependents, you must also continue medical and/or dental coverage for yourself.

  • Life Insurance and Disability

    If you wish to continue additional employee life, spouse/same-sex domestic partner life, or child life, you must also continue basic employee life insurance.

    If you choose to not continue life insurance or disability coverage and should you or a previously covered spouse/same-sex domestic partner or child die; or should you become disabled while coverage is lapsed, no benefits will be paid.

  • Flexible Spending Accounts

    If you are participating in a dependent daycare flexible spending account, your pre-tax contributions to the account will end once you are no longer paid. You may continue to submit eligible dependent day care expenses for reimbursement, even if they are incurred while off the payroll. Eligible expenses will be reimbursed up to your account balance.

    If you are participating in a health care flexible spending account, your pre-tax contributions to the account will end once you are no longer paid. If you wish to continue your participation in your health care account while off the payroll, you must make deposits to the account on an after-tax basis.

    Eligible health care expenses incurred while off the payroll may only be reimbursed by continuing to participate in the account. An expense is "incurred" when the treatment or service is received, or when a supply is purchased, not when the bill is received or paid.

When You Return to Active Employment

Benefits You Chose to Continue While on an Unpaid Leave of Absence

Any benefits that are continued while off the payroll will be automatically restored to payroll deduction and the University's contribution (if eligible) will commence effective the first day of the payroll period including the date of your return to active employment.

Benefits You Chose Not to Continue While on an Unpaid Leave of Absence

  • Basic Benefits: medical, dental, and basic employee life insurance:

    These benefits will be automatically reinstated effective on the day that you return to work. Coverage costs will be deducted beginning with the first day of the payroll period that includes the date of your return to active employment.

    Note: Depending on your prior coverage, these benefits will reinstate at the previous level of coverage (e.g., employee-only coverage will reinstate at employee-only coverage; employee and spouse/SSDP coverage will reinstate at the employee and spouse/SSDP coverage level, etc.).

  • Optional Coverages: additional employee life, spouse/same-sex domestic partner life, child life coverage, short-term and/or long-term disability coverage:

    All optional coverages will be automatically reinstated effective on the day that you return to work. Coverage costs will be deducted beginning with the first day of the payroll period that includes the date of your return to active employment. Depending on your prior coverage, these benefits will reinstate at the level of coverage prior to your leave.

  • Dependent daycare flexible spending account:

    Deposits to this account will be automatically resumed the first day of the payroll period including the date of your return to active employment, unless you elected to discontinue it due to a family status change. Your future pay period deposits will be recalculated so that your total annual election is deposited to your account by calendar year end, provided that you return to work in the same calendar year. Eligible expenses incurred while you are off the payroll through the end of the current calendar year can be reimbursed from deposits made to your account.

  • Health care flexible spending account:

    Deposits to this account will be automatically resumed the first day of the payroll period including the date of your return to active employment, unless you elected to discontinue it due to a family status change. Your future pay period deposits will be recalculated so that your total annual election is deposited to your account by calendar year end, provided that you return to work in the same calendar year. Any expenses incurred while you were off the payroll (and not actively participating by making after-tax deposits to your account) will not be eligible for reimbursement from future deposits made to the account.

If You Terminate Employment

If you terminate your employment while you are on an unpaid leave of absence, you may elect to continue your medical, dental, and life insurance benefits under COBRA continuation provisions; however, you can only continue the benefits that were in effect as of your employment termination date. The group coverage may be continued for a maximum of 18 months beginning with the first full payroll period of your leave of absence.

Further Information

If you have any questions regarding continuation of benefits, please call 612-624-UOHR (612-624-8647) or 800-756-2363 to reach the Employee Benefits Service Center.