Companies Look to Fully Integrate Absence Management Programs

August 1, 2011 ( – Aon Hewitt’s absence management report shows companies are looking to develop fully-integrated absence management programs.

The survey of 200 U.S. employers, representing more than three million employees, revealed that 79% of organizations have fully or partially integrated their Leave of Absence (LOA) administration with non-occupational disability programs (e.g., salary continuation, Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability), while 69% have fully or partially integrated with occupational disability/workers’ compensation programs.   

When asked the reasons integration is important to a successful absence management program, 52% of respondents ranked improved compliance as the biggest factor, followed by enhanced data and reporting (45%), better outcomes (43%) and improved employer experience (42%).  Further, compensation and health care are cited as the two most important services to be integrated with absence management programs.  

“These survey responses illustrate how employers value the integration of absence management with related HR processes,” said Matt Morris, senior counsel and Leaves of Absence Practice Leader with Aon Hewitt, in a press release.  “Clearly, the link between payroll, the health care administrator and absence management is critical.  Two of the most frequently asked questions when an employee is on leave are ‘what will happen to my pay?’ and ‘what will happen with my benefits?’  An integrated program helps in dealing with these issues successfully.”  

The survey also found that 41% of employers currently outsource their LOA programs, compared to 30% in 2008 and only 17% in 2004.  Of these employers that outsource, 80% agree outsourcing has afforded them better compliance with laws and regulations, 80% also say there is more timely distribution of required notifications and 79% believe there is more consistent administration with fully outsourced LOA programs.  What’s more, 29% of these organizations plan to increase the degree of LOA outsourcing programs in the next 12 to 18 months.    

Eighty-five percent of respondents ranked robust subject matter expertise around compliance issues as the most important element in determining success of an absence management program, followed by improved employee productivity, at 66%.