Your client has two employees out on maternity leave, another whose wife is expecting a baby any day now, a man who is coming back to work after an injury that will require a change in his work station to accommodate his disability, and another who you’ve noticed is struggling with his schedule since his return to work after medical leave. Are you handling all of these situations correctly?

Since the 1990s, the number of government regulations that affect employers has risen dramatically. In response, executives are dedicating more resources to create policies and procedures that will help them avoid fines or lawsuits and benefits administration professionals have adopted new models for the administration of complex leave laws.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are designed to protect workers from discrimination and help people return to work after a leave of absence. But for benefits professionals, these complex laws create major administrative challenges. How do you manage ADA and FMLA cases with confidence? The answer for some is to outsource case and leave management to experts.

The administrative burden and overall time required to correctly administer employee’s leave is the main reason benefits professionals seek third party help. Additionally, court rulings and new legislation that affect leave management require constant monitoring, which many administrators find difficult with limited internal resources.

Why do benefit professionals outsource absence management programs? Here are some of the reasons we hear:

  • “Third-party claims administration is just more convenient”: Benefit professionals are specialists who manage a variety of compensation and benefits programs and also ensure compliance with federal and state laws. Outsourcing FMLA, for example, to a third-party administrator allows these specialists to manage immediate issues and better strategize to create a good working environment for employees.
  • “We don’t feel comfortable knowing about confidential employee health issues”: Employers become unavoidably involved in employees’ personal and medical affairs when they manage leaves. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine believes that “all employee health and medical records should be treated as confidential by the employer and provider.” Outsourcing FMLA, ADA and STD helps employers to better protect their employees’ health information.
  • “We want our policies applied consistently across the company”: Third-party administrators can help create processes that ensure all employees are receiving the same, accurate information, and are being treated equally. This consistency is a key driver in reducing financial risk due to fines and legal costs.
  • “We don’t have the time or staff to be experts in ever-changing, complex leave administration requirements”: Leave administration requirements change frequently as a result of new court rulings or legislation. When outsourcing, employers have expert partners available to confirm that each case is in complete compliance from beginning to end.

Have you considered outsourcing? How has it worked out for your company? Let us know in the comments.

Kevin Curry is SVP and national practice leader at Reed Group. He can be contacted at 303.247.1860.

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