The result of these mandates is that employees could extend COBRA coverage by as much as 12 weeks past the COBRA 18-month period by taking FMLA leave before informing HR of the decision not to return.
If HR learns of such a plan, it should issue the COBRA notice immediately to limit the damage. Also, while a worker is on FMLA leave, employers may require updates on the employee's condition. By keeping tabs on the employee, HR may learn sooner of an employee's decision to terminate.
Personnel Journal, September 1994, Vol.73, No. 9, p. 42.