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Incidental absence management best practices

Posted On: Jul. 23, 2009 12:00 AM CST

The Disability Management Employer Coalition released five best practices for tracking and managing incidental absences.

Guidelines for addressing unplanned incidental absences are important because 75% of employers report they do a poor job of tracking them. That is costing them up to $40 billion annually while 3% to 5% of their workers are absent each day.

DMEC, at its recently concluded annual conference held in Portland, Ore., discussed a comprehensive study it conducted to develop its best practices. DMEC conducted the study in conjunction with Liberty Mutual Group Benefits.

DMEC's five best practices call for:

1. Defining incidental absence—clarity in what constitutes incidental absence is critical to success. Incidental absence definitions are influenced by factors related to an organization's geography, demographics, contractual or bargaining issues, and corporate culture.

2. Understanding variables in incidental absence—state and federal regulations; legislative trends; geography, demographics, and bargaining units; and acquisitions, mergers, and reorganizations may affect tracking and understanding incidental absence

3. Developing tracking methodologies— consistency in tracking is key to effectively managing incidental absence.

4. Evaluating in-house versus third party for administration—internal management and third-party administration, or a combination of them, present benefits and risks for employers.

5. Keeping employees engaged at every stage—the engagement and participation of employees, supervi¬sors, and management in every element of absence management and tracking is critical to its success.

A paper DMEC distributed at its conference with additional information can be found here.

Meanwhile, attorney Jon L. Gelman says in a blog posting that declining salaries and unemployment are challenging workers comp systems.