This RIMS 2015 session examined the best path to compliant, integrated leave management programs. Speakers included Terri Rhodes, Executive Director at Disability Management Employers’ Coalition (DMEC) and Karen English, Partner at Spring Consulting Group, LLC.
The environment for leave management has become increasingly complex. Regulations, including the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), and employee awareness of their rights leave you trying to not only integrate new rulings into disability and workers’ compensation programs, but also make sure corporate policy and day-to-day interpretations match.
The presenters offered the following best practices to manage and maintain an effective absence management program for your employees.
- Manager and supervisor training is important so that they understand the process, their responsibilities, limit liability and uniformly administer the organization’s leave policies.
- Ensure that staff is qualified to provide the best support for your employees. Make sure that they are up to date on all absence management programs.
- Organizational collaboration across business units is key for the best management of these leave programs. Removing barriers between departments creates efficiencies.
- Make sure that you have clear and consistent processes and policies, including correspondence, tracking, management, decision making and communication.
- Centralize administration of the leave function so that employees have one central area to go to for questions and answers.
- Evaluate your build or buy decision. If you have an internal system that you use to manage or track your program, you much evaluate if it is meeting your needs. If not, you should consider purchasing an external system for leave management.
- Outsourcing options are numerous as it increases. Determine if outsourcing works for your organization and culture. It does not work for everyone. Employers have more options than they have ever had.
- If you do utilize an outsourced vendor, you must determine whether their system has capability sufficiency. Are they updating their system regularly enough? Just because you outsource, it does not mean that your responsibilities go away.
- Have actional measurement, tracking and reporting. How do you measure your program and if it is successful? Use key metrics like lost time, costs, return-to-work rates, abuse and productivity.
- Constantly monitor your program for improvement. Review your systems to determine if there are areas that you can automate, more add-ons to consider, and if it is keeping up with frequent regulation changes.