This is How People Ops Can Capitalize on State Benefits for LOAs

It’s time to cash in on some state benefits cha-ching. As we power through this decade of unprecedented times (did you miss that phrase?), People Teams of all sizes are facing an uptick in leave of absence requests. While the reasons are a result of a variety of factors from organizational growth to mental health, what remains constant is the need for a consistent and scalable method for cashing in on state benefits programs that can help your organization subsidize LOA expenses. 

People Ops pros are burdened with myriad administrative tasks that can make staying up to date with the latest state benefits programs a late-night-Google-fest nightmare scenario. That’s on top of giving guidance to employees when they have questions because the processes can be confusing as all get out, in addition to actually tracking and monitoring them to ensure they’re submitting correctly and on time.

As the famous meme from far too long ago states (paraphrasing), “There isn’t anyone who has an appropriate amount of time for that.”

What are state benefits programs?

While programs vary from state to state as to what they offer and the funding source, with some offering absolutely nothing, state benefits programs like Colorado’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program that they rolled out this year (technically benefits begin 1/1/24, but employers started paying premiums 1/1/23) ensure workers have access to paid leave in order to take care of themselves or their family during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs.

This means that organizations that currently offer paid leave to their employees are able to cash in on programs like FAMLI or PLO (Paid Leave Oregon…another new state program for 2023) so that their employees are financially supported in their time of need without taking a hit financially.

In order to achieve this, employers are relying on People Teams to be experts in the latest requirements and help ensure that their employees are applying for the benefits successfully. As you can imagine, or perhaps have experienced firsthand, this becomes beyond difficult to manage as remote workforces scatter to new states and requests rise.

How People Ops can capitalize on state benefits

Like the programs themselves, this varies org to org. Some organizations don’t take advantage of them today because it’s too cumbersome of a process to manage in-house at scale. Instead they essentially light that money on fire in an effort to support their people. A noble, yet financially dubious approach.

Others rely on insurance carriers to manage their leave of absence process and struggle with how much manual work and employee hand-holding is still left on their plate because insurance carriers do many things well, but managing leaves of absence is not their area of expertise and a 1-800 number with no history of your employee’s journey falls well short on support. 

Others still turn to third-party leave management solutions whose primary focus is to alleviate all burdens of LOAs including helping employees apply to state benefits programs. Be aware that not all third-party solutions are the same, however, as some require an agreement allowing them to impersonate your employees and file forms on their behalf. 

Not only is that not a scalable solution as it requires bandwidth from an organization outside of your purview (yes, they are still submitted by a human), but it is also rife with legal pitfalls if there are any hiccups, information snafus, or missed deadlines that you and your employee won’t be aware of.

The best way for employees to apply for state benefits

Again, this is a case-by-case basis, but it’s best to ask yourself the following questions:

Does the solution I have today make applying for benefits easy for me and my people?

Does the solution I have today scale as company size and/or requests rise?

Does the solution I have today work consistently no matter the state?

Does the solution I have today provide the level of support my employees need?

Does the solution I have today protect me and my organization at compliance risk due to filing on an employee’s behalf?

Third-party leave management solutions that guide and empathetically support employees through every step of the state benefits program application process are becoming more popular because they answer the questions above with resounding yeses. They empower employees to submit on their own behalf by making the process simple and smooth, and provide 1-1 human support should any questions arise.

About Tilt

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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