Leave of Absence..medical insurance


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I am a civil engineer, in the 7th year of my H1. My company laid me off this week due to lack of projects. They said they will offer me a 3 month leave of absence and keep the job open while I look for another employer so I will not have problems when I transfer my H1 to my future employer. So the idea is if I get a new job after say 2 months I can provide the leave of absence letter in place of missing pay stubs.

They mentioned extending the absence to 3 more months if needed. So essentially I lost my job and medical benefits but the job is still open since I am taking only a leave of absence.

Is this situation better than them laying me off cold and revoking my h1?? Is my understanding of the situation wrong here? Am I out of status, irrespective of having a leave of absence? (BTW, the leave of absence say that employer is granting me 3 months absence owing health and family reasons, I did have major health problems in 2011 and 2012 but not as of right now)

Also, I live in California with my wife (H4) and US born daughter (6 months). My insurance is good until end of February, but from March 1st, I will lose my health benefits. In California, there is something called "Medi CAL" health coverage, Can I make use of that service for my daughter? How about the whole family?? Can I sign up for this service while looking for a job?

Also, there is a very slight chance that my employer may offer me the job back with no benefits though, as he somewhat knows about the troubles h1 employees goes through. So If I get the job back, but with no benefits, Is it probably okay to sign up for MediCAL benefits, then?

Please respond ASAP. Thank you guys.

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As a guest worker you are not entitled to paid health benefits. You likely have assets which could disqualify your USC child as well. Lying to gain a means tested benefit is problematic for you in the future; don't do it. COBRA your health benefits. There is no such thing as a LOA while on H1B except for very few circumstances. If you claim a medical; leave, you will be LYING to US immigration. You need to finsda new job since you will be out of status once you stop working. You realize claiming a a medical leave may at some point require you to produce medical records proving it. What legitimate physician would provide fake records just so you could remain in the US while unemployed.

If you cannot find a job quickly, you need to return to your home country with your family and return to the US when you find a new position. Since you apparently intend to remain in the US on a GC, that is the moral as well as legally required thing for you to do.

WHy should an employer treat a guest worker differently than a USC or LPR? That is discriminatory.

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Try to be on payroll (salary paid) minus benefit. That is the best option for you. A LOA without MEdical proof will be problematic.

As for insurance, your child can probably get state sponsored insurance but definitely not you. I do not know about CA but a couple of years back I had a co worker whose child got similar benefit in NY (I think it was called CHIP). Even those above poverty line can get it but need to pay a nominal premium. The premium is very minimal in comparision to what you will pay to a private insurer.

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One of my friend took LOA after her pregnancy and she wasn't getting any salary during those leaves

That's a completely different situation. In that case, the request for the LOA came from the employee. And there are also legal regulations regarding leave after childbirth.

Here, the employer tries to provide a LOA without pay. That is NOT allowed on H1. And a fake LOA, with the employer "suggesting" that the employee requests it is also illegal.

The bottom line: the OP has to get paid at all times on H1, otherwise, he is out of status, i.e., illegal.

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