Unemployment and Labor Laws – Fair Labor, HIPAA, COBRA and More

Employment Laws You Need to Know

Know Your Rights When You’ve Been Laid-Off

Here are the basics components of 4 major employment laws that directly affect your employment and unemployment.

COBRA (Consolidated Ominibus Reconciliation Act)

COBRA health coverage is a hot topic especially given the high unemployment rate. AND it’s a commonly misunderstood law. COBRA is a government provision created to protect you in the event of sudden job displacement. Essentially you have the right to elect continued health provider coverage under the same group health insurance plan your employer used. Get laid-off from a company with 20 or more employees and you qualify for COBRA coverage. Find out more about state COBRA laws, your rights, mini-COBRA programs and the new COBRA subsidies available for you.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

Chances are you’ve run into HIPAA during a visit to the doctor’s office or a trip to the hospital. That part of HIPAA has to do with patient confidentiality. But there’s a key portion of this Act that relates to employment and health insurance coverage. Should you become unemployed, change employers or otherwise consider a healthcare provider change, HIPAA offers some vital protection for you and your family.

  • Worried about a lapse in coverage?
  • Concerned that you’ll be disqualified for “pre-existing medical conditions”?
  • Moving jobs and insurance providers?
  • Losing your job and need to buy your own health insurance?

HIPAA basically offers you protection from pre-existing conditions disqualifications, ensures you are able to buy into another insurance program for yourself or your family, and otherwise provides safeguards so you are not severed from healthcare coverage if you’ve already been covered.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Enacted in 1938, on the backend of the Great Depression, the FLSA addressed a number of employment issues, including minimum wage and overtime pay, among a few other issues.

  • Minimum wage is currently set at $6.55 and will increase to $7.25 on July 1, 2009. Minimum wage does not necessarily apply to all employees. Students in internships or apprenticeships, wage-earners that also consider tips a significant portion of their pay and others may not be eligible for minimum wage. Visit your state Department of Labor for specific state minimum wage laws. 
  • Overtime pay, under the FLSA, kicks in once full-time employees have worked beyond the standard 40 hours in a scheduled week of work. Overtime wages are at least 11/2 times your normal hourly wage, but could be more. If you earn $10/hour during a regular 40-hour work week, you should earn at least $15/hour in overtime wages for any hours worked beyond your 40 and in the same week.

Unemployment Compensation Insurance (part of the Social Security Act)

Social Security is commonly mistaken with retirement income. But the Social Security Act of 1935 created a fistful of social insurance programs including the Unemployment Compensation program in combination with the IRS’s Federal Unemployment Tax Act. This combined federal-state program provides temporary unemployment income for workers displaced from jobs through no fault of their own. 

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# Tom 2010-11-06 11:00
I voluntarily quit my job. My previous employer was able to provide access to COBRA which I took advantage of at full cost ($1200.00/mo.). Recently the State of Nevada Division of Unemployment ruled that I was elegible for unemployment benefits evn though I left my job voluntarily. Can this decision impact my monthly COBRA payments? In other words, since the State of Nevada ruled that my leaving my previous employer was justified (to receive benefits like any worker who may have got laid off) can I lower my COBRA payments? Is there a procedure that I need to follow? Thank You.
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# Beverly 2011-04-19 16:42
I filed an unemployment claim in Florida on February 06,2011 it went to aujudication on February 10,2011 and I have heard nothing since ...I have called several times and they say I just have to wait this seems a little ridiculous. I quit because my W-2 was for 3606.00 when I actually made 18,000.00 and they refuse to give me a corrected W-2 stating they saved me so much money in taxes.
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# drea 2011-04-20 13:03
How does unemployment work with commission jobs? I have been commission the last 6 months and the way the pay works is that if you dont meet the mininum they borrow you money and so you are constantly trying to pay back the amount that was borrowed...I am paying back the money slowly but there is a course of action that is going to take place, that could lead to termination. I am looking for a job, but what happens if i get fired? Do I qualify for unemployment?
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# Bruce 2011-08-29 12:24
I was laid off in April 2009, went back to school and carried COBRA until Feb 01, 2011. I am looking to take a job starting in Sept.2011 how will this affect my dependent coverage for pre-existing condtitions will I have to wait 12 months to obtain coverage for my spouse? Can I get other coverage for her over that period. I have the certificate of coverage
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# stephanie 2012-03-09 10:02
i have been filing unemployment for 37 wks & i recently had a baby.
is the unemployment security commission able to see my health records? does the HIPAA act cover me in that aspect?
unemployment is trying to say i shouldnt had filed for that week i was in the hosp. in which i was in the hospital only over the weekend so therefore i technically was never "unavailable" for work. Thank You in advance
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# May 2012-05-01 21:12
I may have to take a medical leave to care for an ailing parent.
Will I be eligible to collect unemployment benefits?
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# Rodney 2012-10-25 07:32
I worked 5 days a week for 5 years now I was cut down to 3 can i collect for the 2 other days
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# glenda 2012-12-07 16:20
Can employees draw unemployment benefits if company closes for two weeks for the holidays without compensation
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# Lee 2013-01-09 07:27
I posted a residents name by mistake on my facebook page and although I deleted the post someonesaw it and reported me and I was fired because of the HIPPA law, can I still get unemployment.
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# Betty 2013-01-30 17:57
My son just got laid off after working for the company more than 20 years. My question is how long can my son stay in the companies insurance group. He paid for the insurance while he was working and would expect to pay for it as long as he is entitled. I would appreciate an answer as soon as possible. THANK YOU
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