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Optis Blog: Your Place to Find Our Bright Ideas

If you want to get a clearer idea of what Optis does, or if you're curious about our perspective on absence, risk, and data management, our blog is a great place to start. Feel free to leave comments or share our blog posts with any of your social connections.


 

Managing employee leave can certainly feel like you’re on a huge, never-ending roller coaster ride — a ride that comes with all the ups and downs, twists and turns, and sudden surprises you’d expect from any thrilling amusement ride. It’s a heck of ride for most HR leaders who are responsible for managing employee leave to keep the wheels of the company’s business goals on their tracks.

You’ve just survived the winter holiday season and its challenges of managing so many employees taking time off to be with family and loved ones. Things may quiet down for a couple of months, and then you’ll be into the spring season of requests for time off to coincide with school breaks.

After that, there will be the annual onslaught of employees jockeying for summer vacation time and managing all of the hoops that you and your managers will need to jump through to accommodate those requests. Then you’ll get a short breather in the fall, but only until the annual cycle starts again, with the disruptions and workflow reassignments to meet the needs of leave requests during the next winter holiday season.

The ride can be even more dramatic and have more contortions (and potential repercussions for noncompliance) if your company relies heavily on seasonal workers or part-time workers who are also eligible for leave benefits. The same is true if you have fluctuations in the number of full-time employees during the year. The leave-management roller coaster ride can also be more jostling if your company needs to meet various leave requirements because of factors such as union contracts or unusual state or local regulations and laws.

Throughout it all, you need to know how to lower your risk against:

  • Noncompliance under the FMLA and state laws
  • Productivity loss
  • Employee disengagement

In fact, simply staying on top of state leave documentation can be time-consuming, especially if you have a manual process in place. With so much at stake, you need to know the lay of the land. (To learn more about how to best manage complex leave laws, download the Optis white paper “The Land of Unusual Leaves — It’s a Jungle Out There.”)

As for handling leave requests from temporary or seasonal employees, you need to be sure your leave management system accounts for them. Just because temporary and seasonal employees may be ineligible for company-paid leave, they most likely are still protected under workers’ compensation laws. According to the federal Small Business Administration, “businesses with employees are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through a state Workers' Compensation Insurance program.”

When it’s all said and done, the best and most cost-effective way to smooth the ride of your leave management roller coaster is to implement an automated leave management system like LeaveXpert® from Optis. It ensures that your organization operates efficiently and stays in compliance despite the ups and downs of seasonal requests.

For HR leaders and company managers, an automated leave management system makes sure that leave policies are fairly and accurately enforced across the organization. Requests for leave are routed and approved based on your company's unique business processes. Most important, to make future rides on the leave management roller coaster even smoother, an automated leave management solution like LeaveXpert delivers easily accessible and consolidated time-off information for analysis, reporting, and financial planning. You’re able to make better business decisions moving forward.

Increase employee productivity by managing absence accurately and quickly. With LeaveXpert, your HR department can easily gain insight into the impact absence has on your organization, including FMLA, disability, and other company-specific leave events.

You’ve probably heard it before, but just to get started here and put things in perspective: The cost of absenteeism is huge. The laws and regulations surrounding employee leave management have become increasingly complex, including FMLA, disability, and other company-specific types of leave. And managing all of that is the responsibility of the HR leader today.

The direct costs of unscheduled absenteeism in the United States can be up to $602 per employee, according to CCH Incorporated, a tax and business law information and software solutions firm. In addition, indirect costs can equal 25 percent of an employee’s salary (e.g., overtime pay or the cost of temps for replacement workers, missed deadlines, lost sales, poor morale, and lower productivity).

Obviously, when managing employee leave, the stakes increase with the size of the organization and the amount of employee compensation. But it’s all relative. In fact, for a small business (up to 500 employees) or a midsize organization (up to 2,000 employees), the impact of unscheduled absenteeism can be even greater than for an enterprise organization. A small or midsize business may lack the scheduling flexibility, employee bench strength, and financial ability to quickly plug an unscheduled absence hole, pivot, and move forward.

So, where can you start to reduce the impact of unscheduled absences? A good first step is to get a complete understanding of what’s happening with scheduled leave in your company. Consider getting the answers to the following questions to get a better handle on leave inside your company:

Which months have the most scheduled employee leave?

In the United States, the least number of leave days are recorded from June through September, according to research by Empxtrack and reported on HR.com. Scheduled leave is at its highest around Christmas and the new year. The answers may be different for you, depending on your industry, your business cycles, and other variables. Knowing the trends in your company will help you better plan for staffing needs and potential unscheduled absences.

Which days of the week do employees take leave?

Friday and Monday are the peak days for leave, as people create their own version of a three- or four-day weekend. Again, when you know the trends in your company, you can better manage all kinds of leave to prevent the hazards and costs mentioned earlier.

How long are people on a leave?

Empxtrack broke down leaves into “day leaves” (one day), “short leaves” (three days, on average), and “excursions” (12 days, on average). Its records found that 75 percent of all leave requests that HR processes are for a single-day leave. If you’re managing leave on paper or through traditional manual methods, that translates into a burdensome amount of distraction and disruption, and it increases the risk of errors.

The best way to get a handle on leave in a company of any size is with an online leave management system. Optis’ cloud-based leave management system, LeaveXpert®, helps organizations of all sizes see bottom-line business results through effective leave and absence management. Purpose-built for speedy implementation and access, LeaveXpert gets answers to your leave questions immediately.

Increase employee productivity by managing absence accurately and quickly. With LeaveXpert, your HR department can easily gain insight into the impact absence has on your organization, including FMLA, disability, and other company-specific leave events.

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Solving the Puzzle of Leave Management

Based on an Optis survey of HR professionals, discover the leave management pieces that could reduce your compliance risk and cost of absences.

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Learn how Optis can help you manage leave and absences, conquer compliance, and bring all of your people data together.

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