In September 2014, the US Department of Labor announced a series of grants to 3 different states (Montana, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia to study the feasibility of different ways to offer paid family and medical leave (source). Back in 1993 the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) put into place federal guarantees of job protection for people needing to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to illness or family caregiving needs. But how many people can afford that big a chunk of unpaid leave when they are in crisis mode and need it most? That’s why the Obama administration is taking a closer look at ways to help people who need paid time off work to be responsible caregivers or to recuperate from illness and injury.
While businesses are justifiably apprehensive about how such programs would work, how they would be funded, and how they would cover the responsibilities of absent employees, the Obama administration argues that paid leave programs improve people’s health while actually reducing employee turnover and boosting retention, both of which can represent substantial cost savings.
Talent management and HR professionals know that an attractive benefits package that includes paid leave is very attractive to job candidates, making recruitment and retention that much easier. The US Chamber of Commerce notes that such programs do come at a substantial cost, exceeded only by employee health insurance and retirement benefits. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sheds a good deal of light on how organizations handle both paid and unpaid leave (source).
The traditional approach to paid leave is to separate vacation, sick time and personal days into different plans, but more organizations are beginning to switch to paid time off (PTO) plans that lump it all together and let the employee decide what to use the days for as they want or need. From 2004 through 2008 the number of organizations taking the PTO approach increased from 24% to 42%, showing its rising popularity. Fully 9 out of 10 organizations offer paid vacation while only 8 out of 10 offer paid sick time.
Besides the substantial cost, one of the primary reasons there are still many organizations who don’t offer decent paid leave benefits is the difficulty of administering and managing them. But that’s where the CaptureLeave solution can be of tremendous help. Whether you have one or a half-dozen different types of leave, whether paid or unpaid, your company can track and manage them for all employees easily and effortlessly with the web-based CaptureLeave management system. It’s surprisingly simple and customizable, making well worth your while to start a free trial account to see for yourself how CaptureLeave takes the hassle out of leave management.