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Draw a Tighter Bead on Leave Management: It’s Easier Than You Think

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.