Why do we need a leave of absence policy?
Having a clear and consistent leave of absence policy in place for your business is a required step in every attendance policy. Not only are some leaves of absence required by federal and state laws, but employees will appreciate having a solid policy in place in the event that they feel a leave of absence is needed. Putting accessible and easy to follow plans in place for employees to request a leave of absence will raise morale, improve overall attendance and reduce turnover rates.
What are the different types of leave and how do they affect my business?
There are two overarching types of leave, paid and unpaid. These leaves of absence can be short in duration or extend for many months. The common denominator between these two is that under both paid and unpaid leave an employee is still employed by their business. Some of these leaves of absence are required by federal law and it’s important for your policy to include provisions to handle leaves of this kind. Not following the federal and state laws for leaves of absence can result in fines, lawsuits and worse. Be aware of both state and federal laws and ensure that the implemented leave of absence policy has clear guidelines that follow these laws.
Some examples of federally mandated unpaid leave are:
– FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leave, including maternity leave for new mothers.
– Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) covering armed forces and other service members’ right to return to employment after being deployed.
Examples of Federally mandated paid leave:
– Jury Duty mandated by the court system.
– Bereavement leave in the event of a coworker or family members’death.
There are many other types of paid and unpaid leave and your individual state laws will determine what must be allowed for within your leave of absence policy.
Why is it important to implement leave of absence policies outside of the federal and state guidelines?
Life can happen at a breakneck pace and it’s important for workers to feel their employer will be there for them in the event of the unthinkable. Whether it’s a sick friend slowly passing away, or the need to visit family overseas, employees can and will need extended leaves of absence. It’s up to each individual business to decide their own stance on whether these types of leave will be covered as paid or unpaid; employees will appreciate that a plan is in place to allow them to take this leave and come back to employment.
This is not only good for morale, it helps employees build trust and confidence with their employers and will result in an overall more productive workforce. Neglecting to outline procedures for leaves of absence can make employees feel like their company doesn’t care about their own personal interests and responsibilities and may even foster negative feelings within the employees themselves. An unhappy worker is always going to be less productive than a happy one. It’s necessary to keep this in mind when planning an overarching attendance policy for your business.
What do we need in our leave of absence policy?
First and foremost, guidelines for the federal and state regulations applicable to your business should be immediately addressed. These are the top priority as they are mandated by law. It’s also essential to have clear and easy to understand communication channels and procedures for employees to request a leave of absence. Ask employees to give as much notice as possible ahead of time and be sure to make these rules easily accessible to all employees. From there, additional provisions for a leave of absence policy can be tailored to each individual businesses needs.
Other types of leave not covered under law should at least be addressed in a businesses attendance policy so that employees understand what is acceptable and what is not. If these types of absences are not allowed under the attendance policy, clearly outlining this will help reduce turnover and improve overall attendance. If these types of absences are allowed under the attendance policy, clearly address what constitutes a leave of absence and for how long said absence can continue before returning to work. Having clear guidelines in place that cover a wide variety of absences, paid and unpaid, will keep things running smoothly when it comes to attendance.
How can these policies be managed and tracked?
Once a leave of absence policy is in place, tracking and managing that policy can be a time-intensive endeavor. Traditional techniques for managing leave of absence policies can be slow and inaccurate, placing your business at risk for failing to adhere to federal and state laws. Using software to help manage these policies and reduce risk is a wise choice for the busy business owner or manager.
Not only will software of this type alleviate the workload placed on the administrative staff, freeing up valuable man-hours for other tasks, it will ensure that leave of absences and attendance policies are strictly adhered to and tracked. While it’s possible for manual tracking of attendance policy to be 100% accurate, there will always be a margin of error introduced by the human element. Removing the chance of these mistakes by using software specifically intended to track and manage leave of absence attendance policies guarantees accuracy and employee confidence.
Many of these systems include a variety of ways to custom tailor the software itself to fit your businesses unique attendance needs. Employees will appreciate the ease of access through which their individual attendance tracking can be accessed and managed, along with the simple scheduling of said absences through the software. Failing to adhere to your businesses leave of absence policy can be an embarrassing and even costly mistake; taking advantage of a reliable and accurate attendance tracking system will reduce or even completely remove the risk of falling victim to a critical error.
Our policy is in place, how will we benefit?
Keeping a consistent attendance policy in place that covers as many circumstances as possible will help to build your employees’ trust and confidence, lead to increased productivity and a happier workforce. Confusing or unclear guidelines will result in more attendance infractions, wasted man-hours spent detailing said guidelines and lower morale throughout the entire company.
Avoid these pitfalls in your business by having a clear attendance and leave of absence policy in place before they are required by employees, and ensure these policies are strictly followed by using a software system specifically intended for managing these procedures. This will create a better work environment for everyone involved and raise productivity in your company.