Employers and TPAs use various methods for managing their employees’ leaves of absence, whether it’s manual tracking using spreadsheets, using a homegrown system, or purchasing a vendor solution. There is no right or wrong way to track and manage these leaves, as long as you’re compliant with Federal and State leave laws.
According to the 2016 DMEC Employer Leave Management Survey, employers with less than 500 employees still manually track employee leaves of absence. As the number of employees grows to more than 500, this decreases to 30%, and this figure continues to decrease further as the number of employees increases. This is unsurprising because, as the complexity of leave laws grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to manually track and manage absences for a large number of employees.
With some leave laws running concurrently, different Federal and State qualifying rules, and multiple work sites across state lines, it can be difficult for a Human Resources (HR) department to ensure all employee leave requests are compliant with all relevant leave laws. As the number of employees increases or the number of worksites expands, manual tracking can be cumbersome and stressful on the HR team.
This is where technology can come into play to help the HR team: Cloud-based, automated technology solutions can ease the difficulty and ensure compliance at all times.
1. Automated Eligibility Determinations
An automated system preloaded with relevant leave laws (including Federal and State FMLA, ADA and Corporate leaves) can automatically determine eligibility based on an employee’s information.
For example, to qualify for FMLA, an employee must have worked for their employer for more than 12 months in the last 7 years, and have worked 1250 hours in the previous 12 month period. That can be difficult to track manually, especially when combined with state and company leaves,
2. No more paper
Paper slips for requesting leaves, and using paper files for storing leave information can be inefficient. In this day and age, there are many ways to ensure proper record-keeping. At the most basic level, a document scanner can copy all paper slips and files to an electronic file.
However, a technology solution can go one step further. Imagine if all employee leave requests were logged in an online portal (be it by a supervisor or the employee)? All pertinent information is captured in an online form and sent directly to the relevant party to process the leave request. In fact, one of our AbsenceDirect customers has streamlined their absence management using the portal exclusively as the single point of intake for all leave requests.
3. Enhanced reporting capability
Do your supervisors know which employees are absent on a given day? Can your HR department report on how many employees are out on a monthly basis? Ensuring all leave information is stored electronically will allow the team to access absence data to produce reports and user dashboards that can be updated in real-time. So when your supervisor comes into work, they can view their report and see which employees are absent. This allows them to arrange coverage more quickly than if they were waiting for HR to process calls or paper files.
Additionally, going one step further, patterns of absence can also be more easily detected with regular reporting. For example, individual employees taking FMLA leave regularly on Mondays might suggest they are taking advantage of a long weekend. This allows the HR team to investigate and recertify the absence with the employee’s physician if necessary.
4. Centralized Database
We’ve covered this briefly in the points above, but the importance of a centralized system can not be stressed enough. Storing all of your employees’ leave information in one centralized system opens up a realm of possibilities. The data can be analyzed to detect absence patterns, and while it’s securely stored and often encrypted, anyone with the right privileges can access the data at any time.
And here’s the best part: if the DOL or EEOC come knocking to audit your company’s regulatory compliance, you can easily export all requested leave information into PDF format with the click of a button. No more worrying about an impending visit, and no more spending hours compiling the relevant data for the requested information.