SOURCE: Matrix Absence Management

Matrix Absence Management

July 12, 2016 12:42 ET

Matrix Absence Management Releases ADA Benchmark and Data Analysis

First Credible Snapshot of Industry Experience and Response to ADA

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - July 12, 2016) - Matrix Absence Management, Inc., (Matrix), a leader in helping employers proactively manage employee absence, productivity and related payments, has unveiled the first credible benchmarking and data analysis of the employer experience related to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The statistical analysis is based on a review of more than 4,300 accommodation requests collected over a time period of at least 12 months from employers representing a universe of 120,000 employees.

Matrix integrates short- and long-term disability, workers' compensation, return-to-work services and personal/family and medical leave programs to help employers realize time, efficiency and productivity gains. An early leader in the outsourced absence management space, Matrix was founded in 1987 as a workers' compensation administrator in San Jose, California.

In 2013 Matrix was first to market with a comprehensive ADA management product, called ADA Advantage®. Since then more than 35 employers representing a wide array of industries have adopted the program, which manages both leave and workplace accommodations under ADA.

"In recent conversations with more than a dozen of the top absence and productivity consultants in the US, we confirmed Matrix is unique in the market with not only comprehensive, statistically validated data but the expertise to recommend policy and practice," Ken Cope, president of Matrix, said. "While ADA compliance is among the fastest growing concerns of employers across the board, there is precious little objective information and guidance on how to navigate the legal, operational and productivity implications. Our early leadership has not only served clients well, it has also created the industry's first body of knowledge from which benefits and risk managers can anticipate, model and improve their organizations."

Key Findings

Matrix did research with clients in February, 2015 and discovered two out of three respondents did not even have a system or process to track ADA related accommodation requests. This underscores the absence of actionable information surrounding even the scope of the challenge, let alone the status of ADA compliance. Some of the insights provided by the new Matrix benchmark analysis include:

  • Accommodation request incidence per 100 employees, by age, gender and work status (e.g. exempt or non-exempt)
  • Accommodation request types, leave vs workplace accommodations
  • Accommodation request outcomes
  • Correlation with other types of employee absence, e.g. FMLA, workers' compensation, disability

"One of the most valuable things we learned was that -- with no prevailing system in place to track accommodation requests, incidence was consistently being understated," Cope said. "We found fully half -- 52 percent -- of all requests were unrelated to employee leave, meaning any platform or management approach that addressed only leaves was missing the boat, and potentially doing more harm than good."

The Matrix data release is seen as important to growing understanding of and compliance with disability standards made more stringent by the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2009 (ADAAA). During the relatively short time data has been collected and analyzed, a key metric has changed, according to Cope: "In the very beginning we counted accommodation requests as the primary indicator of volume and organizational impact," he said. "We quickly found out a more meaningful metric is 'events,' the precipitating cause of an accommodation, which often results in multiple requests, both leave and workplace-related."

"This was an early 'a-hah moment,'" he said.

"With the growing importance to employers of a healthy, productive, engaged workforce, leave accommodations under the ADAAA become an important part of a company's human capital management strategy. Looking at a credible body of accommodation data brings into clearer focus the reach, and the risk, of ADAAA," said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of the Integrated Benefits Institute, a nonprofit health and productivity research group. "Clearly this is an area that's going to receive a great deal of emphasis going forward as part of the overall productivity mandate."

Highlights of the Matrix analysis and copies of the company's whitepaper, ADA Accommodation Data: An Inaugural Benchmark Analysis, will be available at the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) annual conference in New Orleans July 18-21.

About Matrix Absence Management

Based on the premise that employees make up the most costly -- and valuable -- of a company's resources, Matrix focuses on reducing the lost productivity suffered when employees miss work for any reason. This service portfolio, called Absence Solutions®, streamlines benefit delivery, simplifies administration and reduces overall benefit costs for companies nationwide employing more than 2 million men and women. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Matrix has service locations nationwide, including claims hubs in northern California; Phoenix, AZ; Hawthorne, NY; Austin, TX; and Portland, OR.

Matrix Absence Management and sister company Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company are members of the Tokio Marine Group.Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc., the ultimate holding company of the Tokio Marine Group, operates in the property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and life insurance sectors globally. The Group's main operating subsidiary, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire (TMNF), was founded in 1879 and is the oldest and leading property and casualty insurer in Japan.

For more information, visit www.matrixcos.com or call (800) 866-2301.

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