Unemployed people who work from home can’t access their employer’s health insurance until they are off the job, according to a ruling from a federal appeals court.
The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the ruling should have prevented employers from using the policy to pay for the health care of employees when they were out of the country.
The appeals court, in a decision released Friday, said that a policyholder who works from home is “unable to participate in or access the benefits of the employer’s comprehensive health plan until they have taken leave for vacation.”
Under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer cannot withhold health insurance coverage for an employee until the employee has taken a vacation, said Michael S. Rothstein, the appellate court’s senior associate chief judge and the lead author of the ruling.
The court said that while a vacation is a long-term, non-compulsory plan, it’s “not a temporary respite.”
Rothstein’s ruling did not address whether a policy holder could also access benefits from a personal health plan after the employee leaves the workplace.
The case has been closely watched by other courts, including the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, which upheld a similar ruling by the 9 th Circuit.
In that case, the 5 th Circuit said that the “fairness” of a health care plan is an important consideration for an employer.
The 5 th Cir.
ruled that the employer did not have to pay employees for the time they spent off the clock, and that the plan could be used to pay the costs of health care.
The appeals court said the employee did not qualify for the benefit and thus did not receive any benefits.
The court did not specify whether the employer had to provide benefits.
The 9 th Cir.’s ruling applies to employees who work at least 20 hours per week, and to those who are employed full-time.
The 9 th Court also rejected the claim that the employee was required to pay premiums, which the appeals court noted is a separate matter from health insurance.