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Alight On podcast discusses leaves of absence: What your employees don’t know is costing you


Sometimes people need a real break — an intentional pause from work. Unhealthy employees may not be able to navigate that break or are unaware of their eligibility to receive a leave of absence. As a result, your company’s overall productivity can suffer.

Recently, the Alight on Wellbeing podcast tackled the difficult topic of leaves of absence. Matthew Bragstad, VP of One Alight strategy, led the podcast by discussing why leaves matter, the reasons they’re difficult to get right and what employers need to consider when planning how leaves will be administered at their organization.

Along with Matthew, guests Jason Endriss, a leave management expert and national practice leader for Alight Leave Solutions, and Rachel Biederman, product marketer for Alight Leave Solutions, unpack ways you can deliver a great leaves experience for your employees and adopt an integrated approach to track and administer leaves correctly.


Listen to other episodes of the Alight on Wellbeing Podcast at

Think leaves of absence are complicated? You’re not alone

If you put yourself in the shoes of an employee going out on leave, you’ll quickly realize it's confusing and involves a great deal of paperwork at a time that’s inherently already difficult. Adding to the challenge is the fact that most HR professionals are not leave experts, but rather specialists in core HR functions like compensation, talent management or organizational performance. In other words, most HR staff is focused on the employees at work instead of the small minority on leave.

In this month’s podcast, we dive deeper into the complexity around leaves and the ways you can create a more supportive environment for employees in need of a break.

A study conducted by Buck Consulting found that employees with six or more weeks of paid parental leave are 84% more likely to return to work at the end of their leave.


When less than six weeks of paid parental leave is offered, the likelihood of an employee returning to work drops to 50%.

The “alphabet soup” of absence management

There are over 100 laws and regulations in the U.S alone that apply to leaves of absence management. When you factor in the varying leaves acronyms (STD, LTD, FMLA, etc.) and their respective rules for eligibility, it’s easy to see why leaves are referred to as the “alphabet soup” of absence.

Did you know that there are specialty leaves (e.g., Tennessee volunteer firefighters leaves) and leaves that only apply in a specific municipality or in a certain set of circumstances (e.g., organ donors or victims of domestic violence)?

Within the podcast, you’ll learn more about why employees struggle to understand their options and eligibility for specialized leaves. Our experts highlight some of the most impactful programs for leaves support and offer tips for guiding your employees to more informed choices around absence. We also explore how third-party help from a leave and disability administrator can help your company control costs, avoid compliance risks and even improve the bottom line.

Lifting the burden of the leaves process

To help employees understand their leave benefits and lift the burden of the leaves process, multiple channels of engagement are critical. Not only does a multi-channel approach give employees more convenient ways to access important information, but it also helps confirm an employee’s intent and ability to return to work. Listen in on the podcast now to learn more tips for an integrated approach to leaves management and the ways employees and employer alike benefit.

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