January 22, 2013 08:00 ET

DMEC Survey Finds Employers Committed to Complying With Leave Laws and Regulations, but Challenged on Implementation

Lack of Internal Coordination, Effective Metrics Are Barriers to Increased Success

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 22, 2013) - Laws, regulations, court rulings and a difficult economic environment combine to make Federal and State leave administration an increasingly challenging issue for employers, according to the DMEC 2012 Employer Leave Management Survey released today by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). Whether employers manage leave administration internally or outsource it, there is often a lack of clarity and coordination that would enable employers to most effectively manage the attendant risks.

The online survey was completed by 238 employers across the U.S. representing all organizational sizes and a broad range of industries including health care, utilities/energy, retail/wholesale, education, and financial/insurance. Key Survey results include:

  • 57% of employers reported the largest challenge facing their company on leave policies is managing intermittent leaves. Only 7% of respondents felt understanding 76 employee rights and employer responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was their largest challenge.

  • 53% of employers report the most difficult leave process involves understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and its impact on employment practices.

  • The most common leave administration outsourced are the federal FMLA (29%), state family and medical leaves (26%), other state mandated leaves (19%) and Military leave under Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) or military leave (18%). Compared to 2011, there was an increase in outsourcing for mid-sized employers (500-4,999 employees). 

  • For employers that outsource leave management, short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) continue to be the most common programs outsourced to the same vendor, at 46% and 47%, respectively.

  • Employers continue to report high satisfaction rates with leave outsourcing vendors, with highest ratings given to complying with regulations (94%); interacting with employer departments (92%); and delivering effective customer service (91%).

  • Employers continue to report relatively low levels of successful interaction between human resources and benefits and risk management departments. 24% of 2012 respondents describe the interaction as successful, a slight drop from 26% in 2011.

"Employers of all sizes and in all industries understand laws and regulations regarding leave and are committed to their effective implementation," said Marcia Carruthers, CEO of DMEC. "But doing so remains a challenge. Better internal coordination, education to emphasize and ensure uniform policies, and investment in appropriate technology to track and report implementation and identify trends could improve compliance and lower health care and other leave-related costs."

About DMEC
The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) is a non-profit organization that provides educational resources to employers in the areas of disability, absence, health, and productivity. The primary goal of DMEC is to assist employers in developing cost-saving programs, encouraging responsive market products, and returning employees to productive employment. Visit for more information about educational publications and events.

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