How to make the business case for leave management software

It’s no surprise that compliance remains one of the most challenging aspects of managing leaves of absence. In 2023 alone, 138 leave-related state laws were adopted, enacted, or amended, and there are more new Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) laws on the horizon. Employees are looking for more flexibility in their leave benefits and employers are enhancing their offerings to meet their employees’ needs. Employers are considering new paid leave types including mental health leave, sabbatical leave, and volunteer time.  

With all these new leave options and laws how does an employer maintain compliance, take care of their employees, and provide data and analytics for their leadership? Gone are the days of manual calculations, relying on spreadsheets or utilizing multiple HRIS, timekeeping or homegrown systems. Now is the time to consider absence management technology to support your business. 

Who should consider leave management technology?

Typically, FINEOS sees large multistate employers, and employers who have a culture of care and want a hands-on approach most commonly using leave software technology. The complexity of the different types of leave, as well as new benefits and programs that support what is happening in employees’ lives is also leading employers to bring absence management back in-house. These include point solutions like greater mental health offerings, caregiver support, assistance with fertility challenges, and concierge services for cancer diagnosis, which may intersect with the employers’ leave benefits and statutory entitlements.  

Build a business case for absence management software

Once you identify that your team needs a leave technology solution, you must build a business case and evaluate the absence management software available to you. Consider these guiding principles:  

  • Understand what is driving the decision to insource the management of leaves – Is it a financial decision, or a cultural decision? Knowing and understanding the corporate philosophy can determine how you frame the need for a robust leave technology solution.  
  • Know the complexity of your organization’s benefits – Does your organization offer benefits beyond what is required from the FMLA, state, municipal and PFML leaves that intersect or offset against the entitlement leaves? Is your organization currently able to track all the leaves with compliance rules applied concurrently?  
  • Bring IT into the conversation – It is critical that the IT organization be your partner to understand what is required to implement a leave technology solution. Be ready to articulate what business goals you want a software solution to achieve and include IT in evaluating technology solutions. Often, security assessments must be completed prior to engaging with a vendor.  
  • Have an approved budget – Before evaluating leave technology solutions, you should have an approved budget that includes the technology licenses, implementation of the solution, and internal resources allocated to the project.  

Evaluate leave management processes and needs

Employers should also work with their benefits consultants or internal teams to identify goals and priorities for a leave technology solution while keeping an open mind toward what an absence management solution offers.  

  • What other systems will the leave management technology have to integrate with, such as HRIS, timekeeping, and payroll?  
  • This is the right time to consider how well existing processes and technology function, and what can be improved.  
    • How do you evaluate compliance, as well as sickness and accommodations processes, and can technology enhance this?   
    • Do you have the right mix of users to support your employees effectively and efficiently?  
    • What types of functionality are important? E.g., automation, text messaging benefit calculations, etc.  
    • Do you have any self-service capabilities? If not, what do you require for your employees, HR, and supervisors, and how do you want employees to report leave requests? 
    • What diversity, equity and inclusion objectives do you need to consider for a software solution?  
    • How do you remove the administrative burden, yet still provide care and compassion to your employees?  
  • How should an employer prepare for implementing a leave technology solution? 
    • The move to a leave management solution involves change. Have an open mind: “What got us here, won’t get us there.” 
    • Ensure engagement from all stakeholders: IT, Legal/Compliance, HR, Leave Team. 
    • Listen to the experts from your vendor implementation team regarding:  
      • Best practices for using the technology; 
      • Recommendations on setting up workflow/tasking; 
      • Using the system as designed and iterating changes over time, avoiding the temptation to over-customize. 

Identify absence management success measures

Finally, it’s as important to define measurements of success after implementing a leave technology solution as it is to identify the right vendor. Modern absence management software not only revamps the leave experience – it produces measurable outcomes:    

  • Improved employee experience and engagement. 
  • Better compliance with federal, state, local and PFML laws. 
  • Documented and auditable processes. 
  • Improved outcomes through automation and compliance.  
  • Access to better and more robust data to make informed decisions and measure the return on investment.  

Leverage modern, purpose-built technology

Internal stakeholders may ask why they can’t just use the absence modules within your HRIS system. Generally, HRIS technology offerings don’t specialize in leave management. When the only laws leave laws were FMLA and unpaid state leaves, it may have been effective to utilize HRIS modules to track leaves. However, as leave management has become infinitely more complex, those tools did not keep pace with the case management functionality, robust rules engines, ability to handle complex calculations, and automation found in purpose-built absence management software.  

With the passage of additional leave laws, PFML, and accommodation legislation, complexity surrounding employee absence management is only likely to increase. FINEOS can help. Our purpose-built leave technology solution offers the most leaves laws configured into our rules engine, removing administrative burdens so your teams can focus on a personal touch for the employees, and configurable so you can bring your company’s culture and processes through to provide a seamless experience.  

FINEOS is the leading provider of leave and disability claims management software with 30,000 case manager users, 8 million employees supported through our leave technology and 30 million employees supported through our disability claims technology.  

FINEOS Absence management software simplifies complexity by automating processes around paid and unpaid absences, including disability claims. Contact us to talk about solving your leave management issues.  

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