fmlaIn celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) the Department of Labor recently published a survey fact sheet titled FMLA is working. From our government’s viewpoint everything FMLA comes up roses, however we’re quite certain not every employer feels this same way.

Here at ClaimVantage we tend to believe the more relevant question is “how can FMLA work better?”. Is it possible FMLA could benefit an employer?

When the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) studied data from 161 companies and 520,000 employees, almost one-quarter—24 percent—of eligible employees took leaves under the FMLA over the five-year period studied. In its report, Early Warnings: Using FMLA to Understand and Manage Disability Absence, IBI uncovers a way that FMLA can benefit employers.

Instead of just complying with FMLA leave, start being proactive by using FMLA as a future absence indicator. Consider the following:

 It has been reported that employees who invoke the FMLA are twice as likely to request short-term disability within a year.

If indeed 24% of the workforce uses FMLA, you’ve got a sizeable employee group to intercept and assist very early in the absence cycle.

Another factor to consider is that due to the extended recession, Generation X and millennial employees are experiencing a “do more with less” situation that is further complicated when they need to care for older and younger family members. As a result, employees under the age of 35 are more likely to use FMLA.

Forget waiting to see if your bottom line drops out from under you when leaves result in loss of productivity, understaffing without warning and the additional expense of bringing in a temporary employee. You should get busy preparing an action plan to keep your company’s employee morale and returns high.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Keep accurate records of intermittent leaves and integrated notes at the employee level. You’re creating your own disability pre-claim and providing opportunity to assist the employee so that a short term or long term disability claim may never transpire. Employers can extend intervention efforts earlier, such as wellness offerings and support-service resources.
  2. Lessen the burden on HR managers who may be tracking multiple uses of leave. Using an Absence Claim solution that provides end-to-end management of Federal and State leaves, including ready-to-run claim intake, automated eligibility determinations, adjudication, letters, forms, and reporting for every applicable leave type is key.

To see how a ClaimVantage Absence Claim solution can improve absence claims management efficiency, and serve as a valuable early detection absence tool, schedule a demonstration today.