Successful brokers know they need to do more than just sell to get ahead in today’s benefits arena. More than anything, you need to be a consultative resource, immersing yourself in your clients’ benefits-related challenges and identifying solutions that get the job done.

One major headache you can help alleviate is absence management. This can be thought of as any authorizing, coordinating and monitoring of Family and Medical Leave Act-protected time away from work. It often will include coordinating with an employer’s disability benefits.

The absence management challenge

We know that your clients’ human resources departments are operating with fewer and fewer resources and have numerous day-to-day responsibilities. It’s also a safe assumption that many HR professionals are unsure of the intricacies of state and federal mandates that are part of managing employee absences.

And what they don’t know may hurt them. The U.S. Department of Labor has the ability to audit any employer to ensure compliance with FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, adding to HR professionals’ stress.

The upside of outsourcing

Although absence management is a complex undertaking, outsourcing to a trusted carrier is not.

Carriers are staffed with experts who know geography-specific regulations and will give your HR clients added peace of mind. Here’s how they can help:

  • Ensure consistent administration. Carriers understand the nuances of state and federal regulations, and how to track leave — be it intermittent or long-term; state, federal or military; or protected by FMLA or ADAAA legislation.
  • Reduce administrative burden. Logging, tracking and administering leave is done completely by a carrier — freeing up time and resources for an employer.
  • Decrease the number of days lost. Expert FMLA administrators will reduce the frequency and duration of employee leaves by ensuring that absent employees comply with laws and regulations.
  • Help ensure accurate records. Programs that provide online tracking of all reported leave and generate real-time reports give employers the tools they need to help proactively address absence-related productivity issues.
  • Provide additional assistance. Some carriers also provide vocational or mental health consultants to help accommodate employees with return-to-work or stay-at-work solutions. This can increase employee productivity and reduce the number, or severity, of absences.

Outsourced absence management can free up a client’s HR team to function more strategically. Plus, a client’s bottom line will be protected twofold: first, by helping reduce unnecessary absences, and second, by more closely aligning with regulations.
About Michael Klachefsky

Michael Klachefsky represents Standard Insurance Company as spokesperson and thought leader for absence management and workplace productivity. He also speaks to The Standard’s Workplace Possibilities?, long- and short-term disability products, and other disability programs and services. Michael conducts numerous broker and consultant training events, provides training to The Standard’s sales force, consults employers and speaks at industry conferences.

Michael is active in the Disability Management Employer Coalition, represents The Standard on the research committee of the Integrated Benefits Institute, and is a member of the Willis Clinical Advisory Board. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.

About The Standard

The Standard is a marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. and subsidiaries. Insurance products are offered by Standard Insurance Company of Portland, Ore. in all states except New York, where insurance products are offered by The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York of White Plains, N.Y. Product features and availability vary by state and company, and are solely the responsibility of each subsidiary. Each company is solely responsible for its own financial condition. Standard Insurance Company is licensed to solicit insurance business in all states except New York. The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York is licensed to solicit insurance business in only the state of New York.

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