Employee Benefits

Webinar Recap: Absence Management: How to Manage Employee Leave

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Published On: June 23, 2022

The future of work has been forever changed by the COVID-19 and the Great Resignation that followed as a result. As such, employers across the nation have been hard at work strengthening and, in some cases, transforming their benefits packages to match evolving employee expectations and attract top-tier talent. 


The data is clear: Three in four employers say the pandemic has made them more aware of the need for paid time off, and four in 10 employers acknowledge that their leave benefits program needs to be more attractive.  


In our recent webinar, Trevor Watson, AVP of Workforce Absence Management at HUB International, spoke about the actions employers must replicate and consider when auditing their leave benefits.  


Below are a few highlights from the webinar. Couldn’t make the live event? Not to worry. “Absence Management: How to Manage Employee Leave” is now available for on-demand viewing.  


The Pandemic’s Impact on Leave Benefits 

According to a 2021 HUB International survey, four in 10 employers said they need to make their overall leave of absence policies more attractive. Additionally, six in 10 employees say that employers with paid family and medical leave policies are more attractive places to work.  

Still, despite the aforementioned data, more than half of employers have made no changes to their benefits program. 

So, where should employers start when offering leave benefits? Let’s review regional and national requirements to keep top of mind when designing your program. 


Regional and National Leave Benefit Requirements 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is federally regulated and provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. FMLA also requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave period.  

If FMLA does not apply to your company, check out short-term disability as an option. During the event, Watson also discusses which states have paid family medical leave (PFML) and paid sick leave (PSL) requirements at the state and local level.  


Designing Your Leave Benefits Program 

There are three top considerations that must be weighed as a part of your comprehensive employee benefits package; disability plans; (PTO), vacation or sick leave; and leave of absence benefits. Some key determents that must be considered when designing your plan include:  

  • Determining which states and municipalities have sick time requirements and which do not. 

  • Is it OK to have multiple sick time policies for statutory and non-statutory states? 

  • Do you roll PTO and sick time into the same leave benefit? 

  • Do you allow payouts and rollovers? What is the fiscal impact of each? 

  • How do employees earn sick time? 

  • Do employees understand the difference between PTO and leave of absence programs? 


Leave Benefit Communication Best Practices 

When it comes to supporting employees taking their well-deserved time off, consider the following action items that could be worth replicating.  

  • Lead by example: When employees see the leadership team taking time off and unplugging, they are more likely to do the same. 

  • Allow employees to redirect unused time. 

  • Increase carryover limits, either temporarily or permanently. 

  • Require minimum vacation use.  

  • Be cautious when making changes to your PTO program. Communicate those changes early and often.  

For more in-depth information, tune in to watch the complete on-demand webinar “Absence Management: How to Manage Employee Leave.” 

Plus, check out what’s trending on the Mployer Advisor blog, and be sure to catch up on the latest episodes of our new podcast “This Week in Benefits.”  

Employee Benefits


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Samantha Brisch

Content Marketing Analyst, Mployer Advisor


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