With the growing number of hybrid and remote workers, keeping up with all the regulatory complexities has become a daunting task. Recent research shows that many employers have adjusted their leave policies to better meet the demands of their staff and match corporate values, as well as keep up with industry standards.
This has the potential to benefit workers and companies. Global Workplace Analytics reports that nearly 60% of employers believe embracing a workforce that includes hybrid and remote workers could save the company money. If those who wished to work remotely did so at least half of the time, businesses could see big reductions in their operating expenses.
By offering an attractive leave policy designed to accommodate these employees, they can draw top talent while saving money.
Managing employees’ leaves can be complicated, especially when required to comply with multiple state leave laws. However, it is doable. By addressing the most cited concerns, businesses can make their policies more efficient while remaining compliant.
Revising Worker Leave Practices
Despite considerable efforts to ensure they stay compliant with industry standards and government regulations, many companies are finding it challenging to establish all-encompassing personal leave policies. Managing a dispersed workforce of a combination of hybrid and remote employees can make it even more difficult for HR leaders who struggle to stay up-to-date with regulations and take advantage of financial opportunities while providing employee support.
This can put a strain on their resources and become overwhelming.
HR teams should be aware of the ever-changing workforce dynamics, and a 2023 NFP Leave Management Report from benefits consultants at NFP provides an outline suggesting the primary practices for leave policies that make sure they remain compliant.
The report recommends that employers put more effort into examining their benefits policies across the following areas.
PTO, Sick Time, and Vacation
Compared to a conventional vacation policy, a PTO (Personal Time Off) policy is more flexible and offers employees an allotment of time that they can use for sick days, personal activities, or even vacations, as outlined by their employer. With this type of plan, employees do not need to specify the reason for taking their time off, making PTOs a practical solution for companies.
Often, employers prefer more regulation over how paid time off is used. Studies have shown, though, that people usually take less time off when they’re allowed an unlimited amount of PTO.
The best approach to forming a sick leave policy is to research the maximum state-required leave that an employer must provide and, if feasible, create a policy that meets or exceeds that amount. This ensures compliance with government regulations and also protects the interests of both employer and employee.
PTO generally begins accruing upon hiring, but some companies offer the yearly allotment as soon as the employee is hired.
Although parental leave is usually granted to the mother when a child is born, an optimal approach ensures that all parents have the same leave policy. This protects birth, adoption, and fostering parents wishing to build a close relationship with their new child.
Establishing impartial policies that provide for all types of parental leave for all parents while adhering to federal and state regulations offers employee equality and simplifies management for employers.
Shockingly, 42% of employers don’t coordinate their maternity leave with short-term disability plans, and a whopping 63% fail to do the same with state medical leave benefits. Generally, the state pays first, and then short-term disability covers a percentage.
By providing salary continuation, employers can supplement the existing benefits from short-term disability and/or state-provided benefits for their employees. Thereby ensuring that their staff is being completely provided for during those times.
There has been a notable uptick in employers providing family caregiver leave to their staff over the last few years. However, over half of the companies that offer this benefit allow fewer than six weeks of paid time off.
Millions of U.S. workers care for their elderly and disabled loved ones. Enabling employees to take time as needed to attend medical appointments and care for their families grants employees the chance to manage both their work and personal life while preserving productivity on the job.
Whether managing a company’s employee leave program is handled by the owner or manager, an internal HR team, or an outside benefits consultant, offering flexible leave is a popular and progressive trend. Although it might seem complex initially, it all begins with compliant and comprehensive leave policies and procedures.
There are ways for forward-thinking companies to manage the process while remaining compliant. Ultimately, it might be mutually beneficial.