Employers share 5 key pain points associated with Leave Management

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Because Leave benefits aren’t used every day, employers and employees may struggle to understand what is available, how to utilize benefits and when information should be provided — and this was the case even before COVID-19 presented. Since the pandemic and the resulting increase in remote work, a growing number of employers are newly minted “multi-state” employers. Together, this confluence of factors has left some employers trying to adapt their Leave Management policies to the quickly evolving landscape.   

To best understand their pain points, we recently conducted interviews with nearly 30 employers and also spoke with employees from various backgrounds who had experienced a recent leave.1

Below are five key insights from the survey.

1. Employers agree three things encompass a successful leave program

Employers can liken managing Leave benefits in-house to walking through a minefield: one wrong step, and they can be at risk of being non-compliant. Because Leave is infrequent and regulatory and legislative changes are constant, frontline supervisors are often cautious about what to say and do to assist employees. However, the survey found that there is a consensus, and this is what success looks like:

  • Employers, employees and vendor partners being on the same page
  • Clear policies
  • Centralized administration

2. Employees value empathetic guidance throughout the Leave process

Even with the latest technological tools, the power of personal touch can’t be overstated. Because employees use Leave benefits for extenuating circumstances, they value empathetic guidance through the process and personalized support when returning to work. However, employers who manage Leave benefits in-house often struggle to balance complying with requirements and paperwork while remaining empathetic and living company values. To best meet the employee need for empathetic, personal touch, employers want actionable, real-time data and insight into the leave management process.

3. Employers expect ongoing and on-demand Leave Management training

The ever-evolving landscape of Leave regulations and programs can result in employers feeling overwhelmed. Employers need and want actionable, real-time data and insight into their employees leave activity or if there’s a needed accommodation, as well as support in the form of training:

  • Provide ongoing and on-demand training to help them manage risk and support employees.
  • Offer consultations based on industry best practices and share industry expertise to create efficiencies.
  • Deliver timely, relevant training instead of the repeated, annual training.

4. Employees and employers want coordinated, clear and complete support

Human resource professionals have a lot on their plate. And when they have questions, they expect expedited answers without unnecessary effort or follow up. Along the same lines, employees expect resources, support and simplicity in ensuring their job, benefits and income are managed correctly. However, speaking to and working with multiple Leave professionals can often be in direct conflict to their goals. Instead, when facing a leave, employees would find value and comfort in working with a single, dedicated point of contact — from start to finish.

5. Employers would like guidance through the evolving Leave landscape

Largely driven by COVID-19, the Leave landscape is quickly evolving. More employers are faced with multi-state regulations due to the increase of remote work, and flexible work days are redefining intermittent leave. Employers need help understanding how these changes impact them and how they can find the path of least resistance. Employers would benefit from:

  • Real-time data and flexible reporting packages for easy analysis
  • Modern and versatile administration tools
  • Innovative technology that is compliant with federal and state regulations

Read our most current State of the States Paid Family Leave for a convenient overview of recently enacted legislation to state specific short-term disability (STD), paid family leave (PFL) and paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs.

By consistently monitoring the needs of employers and employees, we are able to evolve and align our Leave Management offering to help employers accommodate this quickly changing landscape. From initial implementation to hitting and exceeding long-term goals, we are committed to working together and flexing as needs change along the way.

Click here to learn how Voya supports employers and employees through the leave process, or contact your Voya representative for more information.

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1 Voya Financial proprietary research conducted in July and August 2021, which included in-depth interviews with nearly 30 employers to collect insights and perceptions on leave management. Voya proprietary research also includes findings from 30 in-depth interviews with individuals who had recently returned to work after experiencing a leave, October 2020.

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