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by Clare Morin
HR Trends

Fundamentals of a leave and absence strategy


Yesterday’s leave and absence management programs aren’t working for today’s workforce – or the workforce of the future. Employers face significant challenges managing employee leave and HR compliance, from evolving complex regulations, to competition for highly skilled employees and an ongoing global health crisis. In this episode, leave and absence management experts Matthew Howes of Aon and Susan Stowell and Marci Cyr from Unum explore these challenges and share the fundamentals of building a modern strategy.

Key takeaways

  • The need for companies to have a strategic leave and absence management program has increased over recent years – and only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Employees are looking for employers with comprehensive time-away programs, allowing them to meet their responsibilities at home and achieve their goals in the workplace. (02:30)
  • Most employers are unaware of how leave programs work together as a whole system or the costs associated with these programs. As a result, many companies struggle to have a comprehensive approach or strategy, negatively impacting their balance sheets. (03:53)
  • In today’s market, many employers are looking to solve their leave management pain points involving: (05:58)
  • There are three different major categories to fundamentally transform a leave and absence management approach: (08:12)
  • Leave programs are a major part of a company’s brand and corporate culture that reflect internally with employees and externally with the market. Employers need competitive leave programs for recruiting and retaining skilled employees as work-life balance continues to be a major priority for today’s workforce. (09:31)
  •  When it comes to corporate leave policies and programs, employers should take a holistic view to make sure the entire program is working efficiently and effectively – and take a more proactive approach to leave strategy planning and understanding the different components of paid leave. (10:29)  

 Matthew Howes
Vice President, Time Away & Life Solutions Practice, Aon
 Matthew Howe is an expert in leave, life and disability for Aon’s Time Away and Life Solutions practice, serving underwriting, marketing, implementation and renewal efforts for clients. 

 Susan Stowell
Vice President, Absence Management Offering, Unum
Susan Stowell drives the strategic vision for new enhancements to Unum’s leave and absence portfolio, guiding investments that improve the user experience with a modern, digital toolset.  

 Marci Cyr
Assistant Vice President, Leave Transformation, Unum 
 Marci Cyr has spent the past two years focused on transforming Unum’s approach to leave and absence management. 

 More resources:
Why employers expect a mental health crisis this fall
Read our three-part, online report to see how employers across the U.S. are planning amid continued school disruptions, rising mental health concerns, and a critically important benefits enrollment season. 

Episode 21: Paid leave during a pandemic: The state response
HR compliance is more complex than ever, particularly with leave and absence management. In this podcast episode, you’ll get an overview of paid leave laws, both pre-pandemic and those being signed into law amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Episode 22

by Clare Morin