Managing a workforce can be difficult for the majority of employers, regardless of the number of employees. Every day employees are absent; resulting in lost productivity, temporary staffing issues and increased direct and indirect costs.There are various reasons for leaves of absence; sick leave, PTO, Vacation, and then of course the FMLA and ADA, short-term (STD) and long-term disability (LTD). Integrated disability and absence management (IDAM) involves combining these elements to streamline resources, and reduce employee absences and related costs. Returning employees to work, versus validating their continued leave, should be the core focus of employer groups as absent employees are expensive. Doing so however is certainly challenging when attempting to concurrently manage all of the above leave types.
Leaves of Absence
The majority of employers provide paid-time off (PTO) days and sick days for employees to take for non-serious illnesses such as colds.
Employees with a serious health condition, as defined by the Department of Labor (DOL), may use FMLA to provide them with up to twelve weeks of job-protected leave. Employees are eligible for FMLA if:
- The have worked for the employer for more than a year
- The employer has more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius
Let’s not forget to include state leaves, ancillary leaves, municipal leaves and corporate leaves in this absence bucket.
When an employee is out on FMLA with a serious health condition, they may have any number of the leaves mentioned above running concurrently. If this absence then meets the STD waiting period (typically 7-14 days) you’ll now have STD running concurrently with FMLA and additional leaves. Now you will also need to request additional medical document to support this leave. Although FMLA can expire, STD can carry on until it reaches its’ maximum duration, and then this employee could roll to LTD, starting a whole new process.
Integrated Disability and Absence Management (IDAM)
Rather than looking at each leave and claim request separately, IDAM promotes end-to-end integrated claim management. Integrating the Absence leave and the Disability claim can provide the employee with both a single point of contact and a single intake process. Providing your employees with this exceptional customer service when they are sick has proven positive effects.
Integrated disability and absence management is no longer just for TPA’s and carriers. New technology has brought this directly in to your own company – now that’s good for employee relations! Whether you’re an employee group or these groups are your customers, it’s always the right time to evaluate your current program and identify areas for improvement.
The end-to-end claim management from casual absence down to a LTD claim, provides employers with valuable insight for planning. Case management provides seamless integration between each stage of the claim, while reducing duplication, better coordination of payments to claimants, and consolidated reporting for all claim and leave activity. This can free time for HR and benefit administrators as well as claims examiners to maximize productivity and operational success.
The benefits of integrated disability and absence management include:
- Reduced absenteeism
- Planning for future absences
- Increased control over costs
- Ease of administration
- Improved productivity
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Consistency among all employees and worksites
- Compliance with Federal and State regulations
AmeriHealth implemented an integrated Absence and Disability management solution in 2012. Click here to see how this system helped Manager of Disability Claims, Gina Rovello improve claims processing capacity and increase efficiency.