It can indeed be quite beneficial to use dedicated software for managing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance, but it depends on which software we are discussing. It also depends on what features they are offering, their reputation, and the pricing options. Even before we can choose between the different FMLA management applications that are available, we need to consider if it can indeed be considered a better option than FMLA outsourcing.
The best way to answer all such questions and more is to simply look at what benefits an ideal FMLA software should bring to the table. After going through them, the employer will be able to make an informed decision through comparative analysis. If their previous experience with FMLA outsourcing affirms the comparative shortcomings, then they will know what the better option is. If their current FMLA management software fails to meet some of the important requirements, that too should make the need to look for a more rounded solution obvious.
Closing Gaps in Knowledge, Awareness, and Communication with Automation
In this post about the pros and cons of FMLA outsourcing on Pulpstream, we see several very real risks of the process being pointed out. Check the post for more information about individual risks, but we can safely derive from it that almost all risks related to FMLA outsourcing are usually a result of gaps in communication, knowledge, and awareness.
For example, an employer can be sued by an employee on grounds of FMLA noncompliance, even if the mistake(s) were made by the intermediate company contracted for handling leave management, without the original employer’s consent. As one of the most comprehensive process automation platform providers in the industry, Pulpstream points out how such communication gaps can be easily closed, and subsequent problems avoided with an automated FMLA management solution instead. As we discuss the benefits further, that same fact will become more evident.
Employee Profile Creation and Automatic Updates
There should be virtually no limit to how much relevant data can be stored, consolidated, and organized under each individualized employee profile inside the system. While some of it will need to be entered manually, especially during the initial stages, the need to do so will eventually decrease if the software has advanced automation capabilities.
Once the parameters are set, automated processes should be able to update all applicable and relevant data under each employee profile, as and when they become available. Elimination of basic data entry work naturally saves time, effort, and money. Additionally, automated data entry and update negates the human error factor to a great extent.
Limited Access to Virtually Unlimited Employee Data
We just discussed how a leave management software can not only be used to store virtually unlimited data under each employee profile, but modern software can also eliminate the need for mundane, manual data entry. However, what about the security of that data? We are discussing large volumes of professional and to an extent, personal data as well. Given that the employer is obliged to protect all employee data, accessibility must be managed with strict attention.
Despite all the automated processes going on within the system, the people in charge will still be the ones to decide who can access how much data and when. This makes it much easier to stay compliant with the privacy clauses specified within the Family and Medical Leave Act, as compared to FMLA outsourcing practices. Unless the employer allows it, no unauthorized personnel can access the data. Unfortunately, this is not something that the employer can control directly if they outsource the work.
Leave requests must be micromanaged properly to ensure that leave applications are not frequently accepted at the cost of company policy violation, without due cause or even realization. Attention must also be paid towards the company policies so that they are kept constantly in sync with the latest FMLA regulations.
For example, paid time off (PTO) is an important metric which is to be factored in before accepting or rejecting a leave application. At the same time, there are exceptions such as portions of a maternity leave, cited with the Act which every company must respect. Since there are numerous such examples, it is not an easy task to simultaneously maintain productive leave management policies and be compliant with all FMLA regulations manually.
Automated FMLA management solutions help in simplifying the scenario by never letting a contradiction between the FMLA, the company policies, and the final decision occur in the first place. Of course, people can still make wrong decisions, but it would never be on account of unawareness, lack of communication, or lack of warning.
When a company adopts an automated leave management software solution, it helps them to manage employee leaves without compromising productive efficiency or FMLA compliance requirements. Therefore, the answer to the titular question is that it can indeed be very beneficial to invest in a dedicated solution for FMLA management. For small to medium sized companies with a significant workforce, software solutions should even be considered a necessary step towards better productivity and legal compliance.