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Health and welfare benefits

The Report: October 2003 vol.24 num.5

by RITU MAHIL

I will be retiring soon from my employment. Article 34 of the Collective Agreement describes health and welfare coverage as a condition of employment for regular employees and states that the plan becomes effective on the 1st of the calendar month following the date of hire. My retirement date falls mid month. Will health and welfare coverage cease immediately?

No. Health and welfare benefits extend to the end of the month in which an employee terminates his or her employment.
 
 

What if somebody is fired from work mid-month? Are their benefits immediately cut off?
 
 

No. Regardless of whether you are fired, voluntarily quit or retire from employment health and welfare, benefits carry on until the end of the month.
 

Article 34 makes no mention of termination of benefit coverage. What is the authority that I can rely on for saying that my health and welfare benefits extend to the end of the month in which I terminate my employment?

You’re right. Article 34 makes no mention of the termination of benefit coverage. However, the employer has had a long-standing practice of ceasing health and welfare benefits at the end of the month. Further, the union recently took this issue to arbitration and won. Arbitrator Vincent Ready issued an award on November 19, 2002 in which he concluded that “for those regular employees covered by the Paramedical Professional Bargaining Association only, coverage in the health and welfare benefits henceforth will cease at the end of the month in which employment is terminated.”

Ritu Mahil is legal counsel for HSA.

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