- The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) has partnered with around 50 high-profile U.S. companies to launch the "Leave Optimization Forum," an initiative to help employers manage family, parental and other leave categories. The NBGH said the forum will identify best practices and top challenges that large corporations face in managing absences.
- Leave management addresses a broad range of absences, including paid leave such as paid time off (PTO), sick leave, vacation and short- and long-term disability, as well as parental, family, caregiving and bereavement leave. LuAnn Heinen, NBGH vice president of Well-being & Workforce Strategy, said that the Forum's goal is to share the challenges and opportunities around leave and absence management policies and how they intersect with health, wellbeing and productivity.
- The Forum also aims to identify new stay-at-work and return-to-work strategies; model approaches and products for parental, family and other trending leave polices; tools for navigating current paid sick and family leave mandates; and game-changing technology, such as shift-swapping apps and return-to-work engagement platforms.
With more workers clamoring for paid leave benefits, it follows that not only are more employers offering paid leave — even retailers are adding it to their slates of benefits — but they're also looking for ways to better manage absences. And that includes navigating various paid leave mandates by state and local governments. That patchwork of requirements is one of employers' biggest challenges, as they expand their leave offerings. However, attorneys on a panel at the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law's annual conference last week cautioned employers against adopting unlimited leave policies or those that try to comply simultaneously with multiple state and local laws.
"Do we create one policy for everyone? Is that doable? In my experience, most likely not," Franczek Radelet partner Jeff Nowak said.
Many of the 50 high-profile companies taking part in the forum are leaders in the tech industry. With their expertise, forum members are looking to technology to manage leave, specifically through apps. For instance, Walmart employees are using an app that gives them more control and flexibility over their work schedules under the company's newly adopted predictive scheduling program.