The rise of “quiet quitting” on the heels of “The Great Resignation” has highlighted the importance of employers supporting their employees both inside and outside the workplace – and that starts with the availability of paid leave. According to SHRM, generous paid time off is the number one item employees look for in their employer. Nearly 70% of workers surveyed by FlexJobs indicated they would leave a job with higher pay if it meant going to a job with better benefits, including paid leave.
While many employers have taken a step in the right direction by emphasizing family-focused benefits, the conversation cannot stop there. Implementing expansive paid leave programs provides the foundational support needed for employers to develop and sustain more successful work relationships with their employees.
What is a paid absence plan?
There is no universally accepted definition of a paid absence plan. Each paid program has its own rules and eligibility requirements. In general, however, many plans follow the same basic guidelines, with additional benefits provided to workers as allowed by the state or employer should they choose.
Temporary absence – typically for single-day use or a few consecutive days
- Paid leave: Often referred to as “personal time.” Paid leave is wage replacement for use by eligible employees for injuries, sickness, preventative care, or family requirements.
- Paid sick leave: Often referred to as “sick time.” Paid sick leave is wage replacement for use by eligible employees for non-work-related injuries, sickness, or preventative care.
Extended absence – typically for a prolonged leave of absence
- Paid Medical Leave: Paid Medical Leave is wage replacement for use by eligible employees for personal medical reasons, injuries, sickness, or pregnancy.
- Paid Family Leave: Paid Family Leave is wage replacement for eligible employees welcoming a new child (birth, adoption, foster), bonding, serious family illness, or military exigency.
The state-wide paid absence plan movement
Over the past several years, state-wide paid absence plans have become more common as additional states move to implement a plan that best fits their residents. No longer relying on employers to support workers during an illness or injury, local governments across the United States have implemented programs that provide financial support to those who may be unable to work for varying durations of time.
For individuals out of work due to injury or illness, securing financial stability at the sudden loss of income is imperative. Workers who reside or work in a select few states and territories may have options available to them through the state government and their employer. These states have enacted programs to help close the existing income gap and provide workers with access to a paid absence plan, providing paid time off for important family events, medical concerns, and illness.
Benefits of a paid absence plan
Whether a state-wide paid absence plan exists or not, employers can help foster a supportive environment that benefits both the employee and employer with their own programs. Having widely available paid time off benefits not only the employees but the employer as well. The benefits include:
- Fewer unplanned employee absences,
- Increased employee morale and productivity; and
- Increased overall employee retention.
Employees that receive support from their employers during life events and transitions are more likely to remain loyal to their employers. When employees do not have to worry about losing their job or a significant part of their income, they can place their focus on the family event, medical concerns, or illness at hand instead of work. This can be true for major life events, simple days off, or a long-planned family vacation.
The pandemic has shown us that it is not always necessary for all employees to work 40 hours per work in an office for a company to be successful. Providing flexibility and ample paid time off allows employees to take care of their personal lives and still have the opportunity to be successful at work.
Establishing a plan that best meets the needs of the organization is crucial. As additional states implement paid absence plans and employer groups take steps to do the same, finding the balance for the employer-employee relationship is imperative.
At Brown & Brown Absence Services Group, we take our responsibility as a leader in the absence industry seriously. We continue to monitor leave of absence updates from across the country as we work to develop innovative solutions that support our employer and carrier partners as they navigate paid leave of absence processes. If you are interested in learning more about how we can partner to support your organization, contact us today.