OPINION OF TRUSTEES
Complainant: Laid-off Employee
ROD Case No: 88-653 March 12, 1993
Board of Trustees: Joseph P. Connors, Sr., Chairman; Paul R. Dean, Trustee; Elliot A. Segal, Trustee; Marty D. Hudson, Trustee.
Pursuant to Article IX of the United Mine Workers of America (“UMWA”) 1950 Benefit Plan and Trust, and under the authority of an exemption granted by the United States Department of Labor, the Trustees have reviewed the facts and circumstances of this dispute concerning the provision of health benefits coverage for a laid-off Employee under the terms of the Employer Benefit Plan.
The Complainant last worked in a classified position for the Respondent on May 31, 1991. On June 5, 1991 the Complainant was laid off. Funds’ records indicate that the Complainant worked over 2,000 hours for the Respondent during the 24-month period prior to his date last worked. The Respondent provided continuation of health benefits coverage for the Complainant as a laid-off Employee through May 31, 1992.
The representative for the Complainant contends that because the Complainant received vacation pay through June 4, 1991 and was laid off on June 5, 1991, the Complainant is eligible for continuation of coverage through June 30, 1992.
Is the Respondent required to provide continuation of health benefits coverage for the Complainant beyond May 31, 1992?
Positions of the Parties
Position of the Complainant: The Respondent is required to provide continuation of health benefits coverage for the Complainant through June 30, 1992 because the Complainant received vacation pay through June 4, 1991 and was laid off on June 5, 1991.
Position of the Respondent: The Complainant is entitled to continuation of health benefits coverage from May 31, 1991, his date last worked, through May 31, 1992. Consistent with a previous decision of the Trustees in ROD 88-631, the Complainant’s hours accrued for vacation may not be counted as hours worked for continuation of coverage purposes.
Article I (1), (2) and (4) of the Employer Benefit Plan provide:
Article I – Definitions
The following terms shall have the meanings herein set forth:
(1) “Employer” means (Employer’s Name).
(2) “Wage Agreement” means the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1988, as amended from time to time and any successor agreement.
(4) “Employee” shall mean a person working in a classified job for the Employer, eligible to receive benefits hereunder.
Article III D. (1)(a) of the Employer Benefit Plan provides:
Article III – Benefits
D. General Provisions
(1) Continuation of Coverage
If an Employee ceases work because of layoff, continuation of health, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage is as follows:
Number of Hours Worked for
the Employer in the 24
Consecutive Calendar Month
Period Immediately Prior to Period of Coverage
the Employee’s Date Continuation from the
Last Worked Date Last Worked
2,000 or more hours Balance of month plus
500 or more but less than Balance of month plus
2,000 hours 6 months
Less than 500 hours 30 days
Under Article III D. (1)(a) of the Employer Benefit Plan, the period of coverage continuation for a laid-off Employee is measured from the Employee’s date last worked. The Trustees have previously determined in ROD 88-631 (copy enclosed herein) that hours accrued for vacation leave may not be counted as hours worked for continuation of coverage purposes. Inasmuch as the Complainant’s hours worked for the Respondent totaled 2,000 or more and his date last worked was on May 31, 1991, the Respondent is responsible for providing continued health benefits coverage for the Complainant through May 31, 1992.
Opinion of the Trustees
The Respondent is required to provide continued health benefits coverage for the Complainant through May 31, 1992, as determined under the terms of the Employer Benefit Plan.