The Pillars of Leave Management: Extracting Data to Support Your Leave Management Efforts
This year, the Presagia team has been honored to contribute a column in each issue of the Disability Management Employer Coalition's (DMEC) publication, @Work Magazine. If you haven't had a chance to check out this excellent resource, we highly recommend that you do! DMEC continuously provides best practice resources for our complex industry, and @Work is one of these excellent resources that we always stay on top of!
Our column, 'The Pillars of Leave Management,' has explored several core elements of a strong leave management strategy, which we want to share with you. So, we've created a blog series that will showcase each of our columns in turn! To kick things off, here's January's...
Pillar 1: Extracting Data to Support Your Leave Management Efforts
Are you thinking about switching from managing leave manually to using a software system or outsourcing to a vendor? A common concern in this situation is how you can pull the data you need from your various human resource (HR) systems.
Getting this integration right will reduce duplicate data entry and provide a more holistic picture of your employees so you can manage leaves with improved efficiency and compliance. To get started, there are three types of data that you will want from other systems: basic demographic data, eligibility information, and entitlement information. These data will often need to come from multiple systems, which may include your human resources information system (HRIS), payroll, and time/attendance. Let’s break down the process of finding each type.
Typically, your HRIS system should provide a demographic file, also known as the eligibility, census, or roster file.This file includes basic demographic and eligibility information such as name, ID, work location, hours worked, date of hire, and other pieces of employee and employment service information. This information enables systems to determine which leaves are applicable to requests, calculate eligibility, and autofill notices to be sent to employees. For example, knowing how many hours an employee has worked is necessary to determine eligibility for many leaves. Also, knowing an employee’s expected weekly schedule is helpful for knowing how much FMLA leave to deduct for each absence. For example, in a 40-hour, four-day work week, one day off is .25 of a week, but in a five-day, 40-hour work week, one day off is .20 of a week. It’s also recommended that you import a historic profile with the employee’s service history for at least the last three years. These data, such as days worked, are needed to accurately calculate eligibility from day one in your new system. At a minimum, included should be start and end dates of hire as well as basic employment information. While these data are usually in your HRIS, some employers use their payroll system for their core HR data, so take this into account.
Your Payroll or Time/Attendance System
To track leave entitlement usage, you’ll need to know when your employees are absent. Many employers track absences in their payroll or time/attendance system. If you do, you’ll want an interface to send these absences to your leave system. You may only need to import intermittent absences, as some leave systems can automatically manage entitlement balances for continuous leaves based on the start and end dates of the leaves. Additionally, unless you want to start with all employees at full entitlement, you should consider importing historic absence designations, which will tell the system when your employees have been absent previously, for what, and for how long.
As you review which systems hold the data you need for leave management, pay attention to which system is the system of record for each data field. For instance, absences often are reported into a time/attendance system and then flow into payroll, where they’re reconciled, so payroll will give you the most accurate data. Also, remember the saying “garbage in, garbage out” because you need high-quality data to support true leave compliance. While all of this may sound like a lot of work, if you carefully prepare and collaborate with key stakeholders — such as your information technology team and your vendor — you’ll ensure successful integrations and gain a much more efficient leave management system.