Employers are making more efforts to provide resources foremployees needing long-term absences, resulting in betterproductivity and less cost to employers.

|

Related: How an absent boss impactsproductivity

|

A new study from The Guardian LifeInsurance Company of America measures how employers are utilizingcertain programs and tactics to help employees during absences. Thestudy creates an index to measure utilization of these tactics,which assigns employers a score based on a 10-point scale. 1,000employers from companies with employees ranging from 50 to 50,000were surveyed.

|

The hope is an employer who implements certain elements of anabsence management program will have better outcomes for theirbusiness and employee experience if they take long-term timeoff.

|

Employers get one point for every element (out of ten elements)that Guardian says creates a full absence management program. Thoseten elements are:

|

The five best practices:

  • Full return-to-work (RTW) program

  • Reporting capability

  • Health management referrals

  • Centralized intake process

  • Same resource for short-term disability (STD) and FMLA leave

The five supporting practices:

  • Offer wellness/prevention program

  • Offer wellness program incentives

  • Integrated disability/FMLA reporting

  • Disease management referrals

  • Centralized STD/FMLA administration

For 2016, companies that received an index score averaged 4.4.That’s an increase from 3.7, from the 2014 and 2012 surveys.

|

The study shows the biggest increase for absence managementprograms is happening at mid-size companies, with 250-1,000employees.

|

And companies implementing absence management programs areseeing positive results. Sixty-three percent of companies with aprogram see increase productivity, 63 percent also report havingpositive employee experiences, and 61 percent reduced on lost time.These are all more than 10 percent increases from the 2014study.

|

Related: Few workers have disabilityinsurance

|

Fifty-seven percent are reducing direct costs associated withabsenteeism, an improvement from 38 percent in 2014.

|

There are also more companies and employers making the effort toinclude these programs. Nine out of 10 employers surveyed offersome aspects of an absent management program, and 32 percent areinvesting resources to build such a program.

|

A specific element companies are using is health managementprograms, in the hope of reducing long-term illness absences. Theseare often incorporated into a company’s short-term disability orfamily and medical leave programs.

|

The study found a majority of companies offer wellness programs,but 43 percent offer health risk appraisals and 32 percent offerdisease management referrals, and larger companies are more likelyto offer health management programs.

|

The most popular are employee assistance programs and wellnessprograms, which 78 percent and 86 percent of companies,respectively, with more than 1,000 employees offer. For employeeswith less than 250 employees, 54 percent offer employee assistantprograms and 58 percent offer wellness programs.

|

Wellness programs have a huge impact on reducing absenteeismamong employees, and there is higher participation when there arefinancial incentives or discounts. The survey shows 70 percent ofcompanies who offer wellness programs also include an incentive.Employers that include a wellness program had a much higher absencemanagement index score, according to the study.

|

Implementing these types of programs and benefits takes buy infrom a company, which is also something the study examines.Typically, human resources officials and the CEO or president arethe most involved in implementing these programs.

|

At companies larger than 1,000 employees, the CEO is usually theone who initiates these programs, but at larger companies, HR or ITleaders often spearhead the effort.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.