Observations from the 2018 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference

Last week the FINEOS team attended the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference in Orlando, Florida.  FINEOS entered the Absence Management market a few years ago and offers a robust solution called FINEOS Absence.  This solution provides employers and carriers with a simple, 5 step process to stay compliant with federal, state and municipal leave laws.  It can also include employer specific leave offerings to ensure a smooth leave benefit process for the entire HR or Leave Benefit team.

In addition to exhibiting at last week’s conference, we had the opportunity to present an afternoon breakout session. Our topic was “New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL) Implementation Challenges” and we outlined what employers need to know when implementing a software product solution.  We provided a hand out that included the high-level facts with NYPFL and frequently asked questions along with some helpful resources. You can register to download that document here.  As NYPFL is still so new, there is an expectation within the market for continued change and new rulings that will dictate the future of this offering.

As for the rest of the conference, many of the sessions looked at challenging absence and disability questions from both a legal and people perspective.  Many of the questions were ones HR leaders and benefit administrators deal with daily.  Employment law and leave law questions were put forward, options were discussed, debated and agreed (sometimes in agreement to disagree!).  In my view, DMEC is the best resource for education on everything regarding absence management, especially when seeking leave law guidance and looking for more clarity around those gray legal scenarios we all come across.

One of the biggest topics for discussion throughout all sessions was accommodation and why employers should always look for ways to make accommodations for employees as a fair and reasonable approach.  There were several tips and tools presented directly from the Department of Labor representative and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission representative.  Court decisions and updates to the state and local leave laws throughout the country were shared and debated, and specific case law was cited to educate on legal outcomes for small to large employers.  Many of the presenters focused on the details of cases that employers had faced where they had neglected to offer a reasonable accommodation or, on the flip side, come across social media posts that told a different story of employee abilities while out on disability.

One session even offered a role play with individuals acting out leave request scenarios between the requesting employee and manager, which was very effective in providing a realistic point of view for each party.  All of us, at one time or another, will likely need an accommodation from our employer, whether it be for our own illness or the illness of a family member. It was refreshing to take a moment to remember that we are all human and life can pitch curve balls at any time.  Taking a moment to listen and think about requests before responding is key.

If you have the opportunity to attend a DMEC conference in the future, I would highly recommend taking it. DMEC’s conferences provide a great education for FMLA/ADA benefit managers, insurance carriers, and third party administrators (TPA’s).   There is also an abundance of networking with carriers, TPA’s and Absence partners, countless contacts with a friendly atmosphere, and people that know how to have some fun!  We are happy to be a national sponsor of DMEC and were excited to be a part of such a positive event.

We are presenting a webinar with DMEC on June 14 entitled “I Have to Manage How Many Different Leave Laws?” If you’re interested in learning more and attending, click here.

We also plan to be at the DMEC Annual Conference in Austin, TX August 6 – 9, so please drop by our booth if you plan to be there!