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Employment Law/Payroll Deductions for New Employees

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Question
I am in Wisconsin and have just started work for a new employer.  My start date was January 10, which is also my eligibility for benefits date.  I was given ability to register for benefits on January 20 and did so after reviewing the various choices on January 23.  My first paycheck for which deductions for medical, dental and vision insurance would be taken is February 8 (we have a bi-weekly payroll).

When I received my paystub, I was surprised to see that three paychecks worth of deductions were taken out.  I expected one, for the first part of February, and one for the second half of January, but I wasn't expecting to have to pay for benefits for January 1 - 9.  I wasn't employed then, had no idea I would be employed then, and had no way to use insurance of which I was completely unaware.

When I asked about this, the benefits/payroll provider said that it is their policy for anyone starting on or before the 15th of the month to pay for the entire month's worth of insurance, and anyone starting the 16th or later to pay nothing for the month (even though they are technically covered for those days on which they are employed).  My question is, is this legal?  How can I be expected to pay for a service which I could not use and was not registered for?  I think I should be entitled to have my money refunded for those days before I was employed, but the benefits provider says absolutely not.  Is there any law, Federal or Wisconsin State, that would answer this for me?

Answer
First of all the HR manager who hired you should have explained the benefits to you so you would understand what you were signing up for.  

It is the companies choice how they handle their insurance benefits and there is little intervention through the government although there is more now with Obamacare we have to cover emplyees sooner. We used to have a 30 days waiting period for insurance and Obamacare did away so now we have to cover right away.

I would ask to see the bill where it shows that you were covered for the month of January. If you are not covered and they did not pay the insurance company for your coverage I would ask to have the money refunded. If they did pay for you for January they have paid for your coverage and cannot get it back from the insurance company.

Shirley

Employment Law

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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR

Expertise

I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Experience

30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

Organizations
SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

Education/Credentials
PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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