Integrated Benefits Institute

Early Warnings: Using FMLA to Understand and Manage Disability Absence thumbnail 02/2013 IBI Research

Early Warnings: Using FMLA to Understand and Manage Disability Absence

Managing work absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to challenge employers. Our conversations with a variety of benefits managers and FMLA claims administrators revealed that employers focus much of their efforts and resources on complying with the law, tracking time off and preventing misuse of leaves (although there was broad agreement that misuse does not represent a majority of FMLA leaves).

The larger question, therefore, is how FMLA leave management can be improved and how its impact on longer, more expensive disability claims can be ameliorated. In an era of ongoing economic challenges for employers and the need to have employees at work and productive, using FMLA as an “early warning system” becomes critical. A more complete understanding of how FMLA fits in a broader absence management framework becomes a key part of that strategy

To provide this deeper understanding, IBI researchers analyzed a leading absence management company’s disability data to investigate the links between FMLA, short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD). We then created a panel of experts from IBI’s employer and supplier membership to provide practical guidance based on the research findings.

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