The Presagia team is thrilled to once again have the honor of contributing a column to each issue of this year's @Work Magazine, a publication by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). If you haven't had a chance to check out this excellent resource, we highly recommend that you do! DMEC provides best practice resources for our complex industry and @Work is one of many excellent resources that we always stay on top of!
Our 2021 column, Leave Management By The Numbers, dives right into — you guessed it — the numbers! This year we're taking a look at which leave reports provide meaningful insight for different employers, sharing the trends they identified, as well as their efficiency gains.
As we did with last year's Absence & Accommodation Technology series, we've created this blog series to share each of our 2021 columns with you! Here's our March article, which discusses the fast-growing Frisco Independent School District (FISD) who has taken a technology-based approach to leave management. This has allowed them to report on leave to monitor leave volumes, identify risk areas and so much more.
Leave Math At FISD
The fast-growing Frisco Independent School District (FISD) is the largest employer in Frisco, Texas, a city 30 miles north of Dallas. Every year, FISD onboards 600 to 800 new employees. In the 2019-2020 school year, they reached over 8,000 employees across 87 locations, while contending with challenges unique to educational employers like multiple work calendars — the district has 12!
FISD decided several years ago to take a technology-based approach to leave management. This has enabled the district to continuously report on leave to monitor leave volumes, identify risk areas, and measure their benefits team’s productivity. Using these capabilities, FISD recently completed a thorough leave program review.
They began with the big picture of FISD’s total missed days for three consecutive school years from 2017 to 2020, taking into account their growth in employee headcount. A troubling spike occurred during the 2018 school year, with days missed due to leaves increasing by 21% while 10% more headcount was added. While worrisome, it reversed over the next year, with missed days decreasing by 20% in the 2019 school year with the addition of only 1% more headcount. In fact, over the three-year period, the district experienced a net decrease in missed time with a growing headcount.
Leave case counts followed this basic trend: with 714 cases in 2017-2018, 759 cases in 2018-2019, and 733 cases in 2019-2020. Average missed days per leave also followed this pattern, increasing from 17.7 to 20.1, then decreasing to 16.8 days.
While the 2018 school year leave spike was concerning, FISD had the tools to gain control over leave counts. During 2018-2019, the benefits department used its reporting and analytic capacities to make the case for another team member to manage leaves, something they couldn’t have done in the days of spreadsheets and paper. They were able to show leadership how much workload had grown by reporting on tasks completed and letters sent to justify adding another team member for the 2019 school year.
The FISD benefits department also used its analytic capabilities to examine missed time by leave type, department, and campus to identify any high-risk areas needing proactive management.
Looking at missed time by department, the top 10 departments out of 102 made up 30% to 35% of FISD’s total missed time each school year (30.9% in 2019-2020). Interestingly, the top three departments were transportation, child nutrition, and custodial services in all years, showing FISD that they need to monitor claims for these groups more closely. When they looked at missed time by campus, two sites consistently took the top spots, giving FISD another area to investigate for potential leave abuse.
In all years, the largest leave category was medical, non-occupational leaves, ranging from 42% to 47%. However, when pregnancy and bonding leaves were combined, they accounted for more, ranging from 48% to 52%, which was not surprising based on the district’s large, younger female population.
Lastly, they analyzed the benefits team’s workload by reviewing case management tasks completed and letters sent. In 2019-2020, the team completed 11,826 tasks (up 18% from 2017-2018) such as calculating eligibility and entitlement, reviewing certifications, and managing return to work. Additionally, FISD generated 13.8% more letters in 2019-2020.
FISD’s reporting and analytics capabilities have shown their value to the district, providing clarity for a decision to add needed staff and pinpointing leave risk areas. Looking to the future, they will leverage these capabilities to monitor workload, leave volumes, and risks to provide a positive leave experience to their employees.
Founded in 1987, Presagia has a long history of helping organizations solve complex business problems with easy-to-use solutions. Today, this means providing cloud-based absence management solutions that enable organizations to be more efficient, control lost time and risk, and strengthen compliance with federal, state and municipal leave and accommodation laws.