What is Absence Management?

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What is Absence Management?

One of the primary inhibitors of productivity and efficiency is employee leave and absence. Whether employees unexpectedly call out, or take planned leaves of absence for extended periods of time, employers need to be prepared so that the business doesn't suffer from such an absence.

As a result of employee leave laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employee absences may be inevitable and totally out of the control of the employer. Thus employers have no choice but to ensure proper absence and leave management processes, often achieved through an leave management system integrated with modern time and attendance software.

Absence management is the process in which employers manage employee leave within their organization, maintaining compliance with federal and state leave of absence laws.

Absence management entails creating policies and communicating them effectively to employees, maintaining accurate records, and providing reasonable accommodations for individuals returning to work. Leave and absence software can help streamline these processes, ensuring that employers stay compliant without sacrificing their own time or the productivity of their business. 

Why Proper Absence Management Processes are Needed

Leave management can have a costly impact on daily operations, but employees are humans, and they may require extended time away from work.

The need for employees to take a leave of absence can occur for a variety of reasons, including things like illness, injury, disability, bereavement, military or jury duty, maternity or paternity leave, child / elder care, or labor disputes to name a few. 

The fact is, tracking employee leave manually is a near-impossible task for even the smallest of businesses. For instance, under FMLA employers must track who is eligible for leave, as well as monitor and track continuous and intermittent leave taken by employees. 

Tracking leave even goes beyond compliance with leave laws, as determining full-time status in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also requires accurate records of unpaid leaves, such as FMLA.

Without accurate leave management and consistent leave and absence policy enforcement, such as displaying all necessary leave labor law posters, employers are at risk of noncompliance with leave regulations and potentially subject to fines or class action lawsuits.

Absence Management System Requirements

As time has passed, federal law is becoming more and more protective of employee rights, and more and more states are passing their own legislation around employee leave. As time continues to pass, absence and leave management will continue to become a larger task and process.

That is why it is not only crucial to ensure proper workforce management tools such as absence management software, but to know what you should look for when selecting your solution. Absence management software should be configurable to match the needs of an organization's policies and compliance requirements. Automating absence management helps system and human resources administrators keep direct and indirect absence costs under control while reducing the potential for errors and risk of non-compliance from manual, inefficient processes.   

Generally, absence management software should provide organizations with the ability to:

  • Access and manage leave policies
  • Define leave eligibility
  • Streamline leave request and approval processes
  • Maintain time off balances
  • View and manage employee absence and leave cases 
  • Track and audit historic leave cases and requests 
  • Configure leave workflows, notifications, and reports

Here are some specific features and tools that you should look for in an absence management software solution:

Absence Management Software Features and Tools

When looking for an absence management software solution, managers should look for the following tools and capabilities: 

  • Leave Qualifier questionnaires and forms
  • Seamless Integration Ability with timesheets and schedules
  • Tracking for continuous and intermittent leave
  • Flexible Leave Rules, including types, duration, and eligibility criteria
  • Drag-and-Drop custom workflows
  • Form Auto-Population for things such as Department of Labor forms
  • Record Organization such as appending documents to leave case records
  • Reporting and Analytics that are in real-time, including global leave reporting
  • Mobile-Friendly employee and manager self-service

Integrating Absence and Leave Management Software With Other Solutions

In today's digital world, absence management software should, at a minimum, be able to integrate with employee scheduling software as well as time and attendance software.

Absence Management Software Advantages & Benefits

Absence management software can provide the following benefits for businesses that utilize such a system:

Improved Efficiency

By eliminating manual tasks and streamlining leave requests and approvals

Ensured Fairness

By accurately calculating and tracking leave eligibility, type, and duration

Increased Transparency

With instant visibility into each employee’s current leave status, eligibility, and balances

Reduced Costs

By eliminating unauthorized absences through flexible rules and automated notifications

Improved Compliance

By ensuring that leave policies are enforced consistently

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