Effectively managing employee leaves of absence (LOA) is no easy task.
You’re responsible for the entire “alphabet soup” of FMLA, ADA, USERRA, and OSHA, just for starters – not to mention specific state statutes that will also inevitably come into play. The key to making it all work is understanding leave administration guidelines, key steps involved, and possible legal pushback if shortfalls occur.
What Does Leave Administration Involve?
To avoid the ever-increasing costs of employee absenteeism, you need a robust and well-managed leave program. This includes staying up to date on:
- Various leave laws and how they run concurrently.
- When laws become exclusively applicable.
- How to avoid being more generous than the law requires.
- Maintaining an effective database for leave administration.
Here are some pointers to help you address these leave administration concerns:
- Understand that more than one law – federal, state, and/or municipal – may apply to any given LOA situation.
- Once you determine which laws are applicable, make sure all are complied with and understand employee leave and benefits entitlement related to each law.
- Build a company culture that actively strives to achieve the objectives of applicable LOA statutes and policies, rather than circumvent them.
- Have thorough handbook policies
- Provide the right training on handling leave requests.
- Communicate LOA policies, requirements, and processes to everyone, from the C suite to every new hire. Tailor communications to employee’s individual LOA situation.
- Document your LOA decision process.
- Be consistent with decisions made related to each LOA case
- Scrutinize the effectiveness of your leave practices on an ongoing basis to determine continuous improvements for the future. This includes applying metrics to better gather and analyze relevant data.
- Make sure your automated systems are problem-free to keep accuracy levels high.
- Implement effective tracking methods for leaves that run concurrently.
When it comes to administering different types of paid and unpaid leave, there are legal ramifications to getting it right. But if you get it wrong, there are risks, including:
- Discrimination claims: This can occur if it appears that some groups of employees were treated differently than others.
- Financial and productivity setbacks: You could wind up owing more time to employees due to inaccurate leave tracking.
- Lower morale: If leave is administered inconsistently, employees can become frustrated, leading to problems with motivation, resentment, and, ultimately, confidence.
Leave administration demands a lot of time and attention. It also requires cutting-edge knowledge of the latest rules, statutes, and regulations as they continually evolve. Why not consider turning this task over to a team of experts? HR Works can help with all aspects of leave administration, from managing employee leave requests to ensuring complete compliance with various laws and processing related claims. Contact us today to learn more.