Leaving money on the table may be a best practice at restaurants, but few in your finance department will jump for joy knowing that your organization isn’t cashing in on the various available paid state leave of absence (LOA) programs across the country. By knowing what LOA programs are out there, how your employees can apply, and how much your company stands to save, you can be a bottom-line hero.
Well quite simply, it depends. If your company doesn’t currently have paid leave benefits for your employees then this article might not be for you (also they should get with the times, but that’s a conversation for another day).
If your company does provide paid benefits, then you’ll definitely want to take advantage of any state programs out there so that your org doesn’t have to foot a bigger bill than necessary. While each state has different programs, we’ll use California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program as an example of just how much you can save.
What is the California Paid Family Leave insurance program? It provides up to eight weeks of paid leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. The benefit amount is approximately 70% of an employee’s weekly wage, from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $1,540.
If you’re paying 100% of your employees’ paid family leave, good on you, but your organization could be saving $1,540 PER WEEK per employee on leave by having them file for PFL.
For those who love math (anyone?…anyone?), if you have 250 employees in California and 10 employees take advantage of the eight weeks of PFL, your company would save $123,200. That’s money your org would normally spend to support those leaves that comes off the books. Poof. Gone. Cha-ching.
(Shout out to Tilt’s home state of Colorado who will soon be rolling out the FAMLI program, which will give 12 weeks of paid leave (with an additional four weeks for a pregnancy- or childbirth-related complication) capped out at $1100 PER WEEK per employee.)
Every state that offers a paid LOA program has its own process, its own forms, and its own deadlines. For example, if you’re HQ is in Dallas but you just had an employee move to New York and a month later they request maternity leave, you’re going to need to get familiar with the New York PFL program and they’ll need to fill out this form (NY pays $1,068.36 per week, FYI).
You might be thinking to yourself, “How am I supposed to keep track of all this, exactly? The programs change, they all have their own forms and processes, getting my employees to do anything is like herding the world’s most stubborn cats, new programs pop up, and our remote workers are spreading out like me on a couch after a day full of meetings.”
While it’s true there is serious money to be saved by leveraging these programs, it takes staying up to date on the latest programs, keeping your people informed when they request a leave, and ensuring they’re filling out the right applications and actually applying.
Because of such a cumbersome administrative process, it’s surprisingly (to us) not uncommon for organizations to forgo applying for these programs because their People Teams are already stretched so thin.
In short, when it comes to having your people apply for LOA programs you’ll always be limited by your People Team’s bandwidth and internal process efficiencies around. Maybe you run the numbers and it becomes clear that hiring a dedicated FTE is worth your while (we had a large client leaving over $1,000,000 on the table every year because they weren’t applying for these programs…that’s not a typo).
Not looking at adding headcount just to apply for LOA programs? Understandable. Another option (some of you may be doing this now) is to set up a gauntlet of outlook reminders and email templates to keep your employees on application track and make sure you’re continually staying up to date on the latest programs where your people currently work.
If none of the above seem feasible and/or the last thing you want to be spending your precious time on, that’s even more understandable. Outsourcing your leave management solution might is going to be your best bet. It will save you time, relieve headaches and can pay for itself many times over just by cashing in on existing LOA programs without you lifting a finger.
Tilt is leading the charge in all things leave of absence management through easy-to-use tech and human touch. Since 2017, our proprietary platform and Empathy Warriors have been helping customers make leave not suck by eliminating administrative burdens, keeping companies compliant, and providing a truly positive and supportive leave of absence experience for their people.
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