Although, because it is at your request, it won't be 'benching' ... you still need to be careful.
Can other employees make this request? Is there a company policy as to when you're no longer on payroll if you stay 'off' for too long?
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Whether you can do that depends entirely on your employment contract. If that contrat provides that you are still employed, you are in status.
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I would be careful under this scenario, since the law prohibits the "benching" of H-1B employees. Both you and your employer's immigration lawyer need to check an discuss this in private.
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