FMLA Changes Will Make Managing Employee Leave More Complex

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Paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is just one of the possible legislative changes that will further complicate employee absence management.

Some of the other concerns include managing employer policy (paid time off) concurrence with FMLA, notification requirements, tracking intermittent and constantly changing leave status and absence dates, determining and managing the differences between paid and unpaid time off and several other administrative concerns.

Managing employee leave is complex and becoming more so every day. Legislation to mandate paid FMLA has been drafted in the U.S. Congress and is already a reality in several state and local jurisdictions. Some analysts believe federal changes in law are likely to be enacted within 12 months. What will these changes mean for businesses already struggling to manage employee absences?

“The FMLA was enacted in 1993 and from a compliance standpoint, the passage of time has not made employee absences, provided for under the act, any easier to administer,” explains Jim O’Connell, Ceridian’s vice president, government affairs & HR policy. “And new laws and regulations either already passed or being considered only add to the complexities of managing employee time off.”

Ceridian LifeWorks, a leading provider of leave administration solutions for businesses, notes that according to the Department of Labor approximately 77 million employees are eligible to take leave under FMLA. Over the last five years an increasing number of workers have used the act and related state leave laws to be absent from work for everything from the birth of a child, a death in the family or any one of several medical or family occurrences determined to be FMLA qualifying events. But it is not always easy for employers to decide what constitutes a qualifying event, which is just one of the employer issues complicating the leave administration process.

According to Ronnie Bragen, Ceridian LifeWorks product manager, the issues employers now face when managing employee absences are converging to create “a perfect storm.” “Maintaining compliance in a changing regulatory environment is only one of the issues employers face when trying to keep on top of leave administration,” Bragen says. “Some of the other concerns include managing employer policy (paid time off) concurrence with FMLA, notification requirements, tracking intermittent and constantly changing leave status and absence dates, determining and managing the differences between paid and unpaid time off and several other administrative concerns.” But perhaps most surprising of all, Bragen notes, is that tracking employee leave is often still performed using a time consuming and cumbersome manual process.

These are just some of the reasons outsourcing leave administration can make more sense today than ever before. Third party leave administration can help employers:

  •     Improve compliance
  •     Increase productivity
  •     Reduce costs and improve bottom lines
  •     Become free of administrative burdens
  •     Reduce controllable absenteeism
  •     Minimize risk

The changing regulatory environment and the operational complexities of managing employee absences are just some of the issues discussed in a one-hour Web forum, Paid FMLA: What Could It Mean For You? (May 27, 2008). The recorded session is available on Ceridian’s Web site, and answers several tough questions about what paid FMLA might mean to you and your company. For instance, will paid leave increase the potential for abuse and use of intermittent absences? And what affect will paid FMLA have on your company paid time off policies? To listen to the recording or learn more about how Ceridian’s Leave Administration solution might be right for your business, visit MyCeridian’s Leave Administration page.

About Ceridian
Ceridian Corporation is a business services company that helps its customers maximize the power of their people, lower their costs and focus on what they do best. The company's suite of innovative managed human resource solutions includes payroll and compensation, employee benefits administration, staffing, compliance, HR administration and employee assistance programs (EAP), work-life, health and wellness and productivity management solutions. Ceridian serves businesses and employees in the United States, Canada and Europe. Through its Comdata and Stored Value Solutions (SVS) subsidiaries, Ceridian is a major payment processor and issuer of credit cards, debit cards and stored value cards, primarily for the trucking and retail industries in the United States. For more information about the human resource outsourcing company's comprehensive array of solutions,
visit http://www.ceridian.com or call (800) 729-7655.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Cary Griffith
Ceridian
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