the position. If the employee refuses the offer, the employee may no longer qualify for payments under the workers' compensation program, but the employee is entitled to continue on unpaid FMLA leave up to a total of 12 administrative workweeks as long as the employee is affected by a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position. If the employee returning from the workers' compensation injury is a qualified individual with a disability, he or she has certain rights under the Rehabilitation Act. For additional information on workers' compensation benefits, agencies are encouraged to contact the Office of Workers' Compensation, Department of Labor.
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
On July 22, 1996, OPM issued interim regulations in the Federal Register
(61 FR 37807) that reorganized 5 CFR 890.502 (Employee withholdings and contributions) and made conforming changes in the paragraph on direct payment of premiums during periods of LWOP status in excess of 365 days. The conforming changes were based on policy changes previously published in the Federal Register. On December 27, 1994, OPM issued final regulations in the Federal Register that delegated from OPM to Federal agencies the authority to reconsider disputes about coverage and enrollment issues.
On June 1, 1995, OPM issued final regulations in the Federal Register that eliminated the requirement for the use of certified mail, return receipt requested, when notifying certain enrollees that their enrollment will be terminated because of nonpayment of premiums unless the payments is received within 15 days. The interim regulations published on July 22, 1996, reflected both of these policy changes, and the pertinent paragraph is reproduced in these final regulations.
Greater Leave Entitlement
Some commenters asked about the effect of FMLA on current agency leave policies and collective bargaining agreements--e.g., whether leave under the FMLA is considered to be the minimum within the labor-management agreement or is in addition to an existing contract provision already available through the labor-management agreement. Agencies must observe any employment policies or collective bargaining agreements that provide greater family or medical leave rights to employees than those established under the FMLA. Conversely, the rights established by the Act may not be diminished by any agency leave policies or collective bargaining agreement. However, nothing in the FMLA prevents an agency from amending existing leave and entitlement benefit programs, provided the changes comply with the FMLA. We have revised § 630.1210(a) to clarify this point.
One commenter suggested adding references to "reasonable accommodation" and "offers of assignment" to § 630.1210(d). Since the intent of §