Don't Make This Mistake! Why Leave Administration Isn't Enough
By Amanda Neely
Have you ever wondered why your leave of absence administration strategy just doesn’t hit the mark? It’s simple. Leave administration is step three (or more) in the employee’s leave experience process. Have you ever skipped the first two instructions in a recipe? How about building a house? It wouldn’t make sense to put up the walls without first leveling the land and pouring the foundation. So naturally, when we expect employees to jump to step three in a complicated and unfamiliar process – it isn’t going to work. Let’s unpack this.
Leave Administration - What does it solve?
When we look at the leave administration solutions today, they are designed to provide support and service to the employer with tracking time, eligibility, and documentation related to the employee’s leave of absence. The purpose is focused on mitigating risk and remain in compliance. Over time, administrators have worked to provide innovative employee tools, resources, and experience; however, the resources are still written from a compliance-based viewpoint, and in a general way so as not to over promise any potential decisions. Can they answer questions? Yes. Can they do so hypothetically? Probably not, nor should they – they are after all, in the business of mitigating risk.
But, HR, can you just tell me what applies and how much it covers?”
When an employee is in the preparation stages for leave, they have questions. What benefits do I have? Will I be paid?How long can I take off and is it enough time for what I need? What do I have to do? These are all questions that come to mind when bringing home a new child or caring for an ill family member… or for any other type of leave event, for that matter. For the most part, the process is foreign to them. They need information, guidance, and they are coming to you to fill in the blanks.
That’s why we outsource - so they can answer the questions…
Technically, yes. But, to do so, employees generally need to file a claim. To file a claim, paperwork and supporting documentation are needed. Without it, questions will remain unanswered, and the process remains in a suspended state. Herein lies the problem – we ask employees to navigate these resources, but they and most leave administrators are not set up for success. Employees are confused, frustrated, and simultaneously navigating a likely stressful life change. When situations are more urgent in nature – like an emergent health situation, people naturally follow the path of least resistance, and that typically means you, HR, become their support mechanism.
How to make the Leave experience better?
When set up for success, all parties are more likely to fulfill their obligations, which creates efficiency. Take a look at your leave program, ask yourself, “Would my employee know the next step in the process without access to me?” If the answer is no or not really, then you know you’re asking people to fill in the blanks on their own which inevitably sets them up to miss milestones and required tasks like paperwork. Overall this makes it more difficult for your leave administration partner to support your program. Keeping it simple is often the best approach when supporting complex situations. Giving clear and easy guidance like a LOA checklist for managers & employees to navigate steps. Or providing all benefit and policy information in a centralized location. Humanize the details. Policies written in a simplified and straight forward way will reduce the guesswork, and will benefit all parties.
LeaveLogic is on a mission to fill the gaps when it comes to leave. As the leading cloud-based leave decision support platform, LeaveLogic provides simplified leave planning and education, designed to help employees navigate the complexities of leave. Designed for flexibility to support most employers’ leave strategies, whether leave is self-administered or outsourced to a third-party (TPA), LeaveLogic makes it easy.
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