Mining Leave Data To Improve Your Organization's Leave Program

Posted by Shahlla Karmali on May 27, 2021 11:00:00 AM

Leave case managers collaborating on implementing absence technology in their meeting

Our parent company, Presagia, contributed an article to each issue of last year's @Work Magazine, a publication by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). If you haven't had a chance to check out this excellent resource, we highly recommend that you do! DMEC provides best practice resources for our complex industry and @Work is one of their resources that we always stay on top of! 

The 2021 column, Leave Management By The Numbers, dives right into — you guessed it — the numbers! This year we're taking a look at which leave reports provide meaningful insight for different employers, sharing the trends they identified, as well as their efficiency gains. 

As we did with last year's Absence & Accommodation Technology series, we've created this blog series to share each of our 2021 columns with you!  To kick it off, here's our January article, which discusses the types of reports employers can use to draw meaningful conclusions and how employers can report on the usage of specific policies. This article will set the stage for upcoming articles, which will profile the leave reporting journeys of employers from various industries.

Leave managers are usually working in overdrive trying to keep up with their sheer quantity of cases. Their primary concern is staying legally compliant by making the right calculations and adhering to regulatory deadlines, forcing them to always be in reactionary mode. Managing leaves generates a wealth of data, but most leave managers don’t have time to leverage this data to help optimize day-to-day activities and broader workforce strategies.

Yet you don’t want to miss this opportunity to use reporting to improve your leave program.

Though specific reports may vary between employers, the foundation remains the same. To begin, leave reports typically fit in two categories — operational and analytical.

Operational Reports

Operational reports cover day-to-day activities, tracking things like active leaves, tasks, workload, and productivity. These reports help you manage leaves better by providing information you need to make more informed decisions immediately. They also include reports for other departments, such as those telling payroll when employees are going on leave so they can trigger pay processes.

Analytical Reports

Analytical reports review your data over time to identify trends, risks, and opportunities for improvement. Some can even be leveraged for benchmarking. Reports from industry groups also offer data from many employers so you can see how your leave experience compares to your peers, examining key items like lost workday averages by industry. If your averages are higher, you might have a problem and should dig deeper.

Capturing Pandemic-Related Leave Data

Since the start of the pandemic, leave has been a hot topic, with an onslaught of new leave laws and employers struggling to quantify the cost to their operations. One way to quantify cost is to look at lost workdays related to the pandemic, be they for an illness, public health order, quarantine, or something else. To facilitate this, leave programs must have the right policies and processes in place to capture accurate data.

For instance, the start of the pandemic immediately cast a spotlight on a gap in leave management policies; many employers could not quantify time off related to the pandemic. Many employees needed time off due to issues like quarantine, but there were no regulatory leave policies applicable. To address this, many companies worked to implement a general pandemic leave policy to track leaves for quarantine and other public health emergency issues and made adjustments as leave laws related to COVID-19 were enacted.

By having all of these leave policies in place, customers can report on their usage to quantify the number of leave events, lost workdays by leave type and policy, and more. They can also translate these into costs such as lost productivity, benefits continuation, and paid time off.

Going a step further, employers can use leave data as they plan for return to work (RTW). This might involve identifying jobs incurring significant lost time due to the pandemic that can easily be performed remotely for longer. It will also be integral to monitor trends as employees return, looking for spikes in leaves involving the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and quarantine leave requests. These leave trends might indicate a need to slow down RTW or re-evaluate whether your RTW program is effective.

As we begin to look to the future, there’s no better time to think about the leave data you can already access and the reports that can help make your organization healthier, happier, and stronger.

Topics: Leave Management, Compliance, Absence Management, Technology

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