Hub International Workforce Absence Management Study Reveals Impact Of COVID-19 Pandemic And Benchmarks Leave And Absence Management Programs For Small- To Medium-Sized Employers
Hub International Limited (HUB), a leading global insurance brokerage and financial services firm, released the HUB 2021 Workforce Absence Management Survey, a national study focused on small- to mid-sized employers. The findings reveal the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has driven employers to re-evaluate and change their absence management policies and practices. The survey also reveals that small- to mid-sized employers compare favorably to their larger business counterparts when it comes to absence management practices.
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“Managing employee absences is challenging for employers in the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more complex with the sudden shift to remote work and the rapid proliferation of paid sick leave and expansion of paid family/medical leave,” said Mingee Kim, HUB Senior Vice President and National Practice Leader of Workforce Absence Management. “HUB’s Workforce Absence Management Survey findings will encourage employers to take a more holistic approach in their benefits strategy and help them gain a sustainable competitive advantage through absence management.”
Key insights from the study:
- The pandemic has created a foundation for future changes in absence management programs. For most respondents (75%), the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced how they approach leave management as a whole. About 40% of respondents believe their policies need to be more attractive and 25% have altered their paid time off programs.
- Small and medium-sized employers often believe their paid time off programs lag larger employers; however, the survey results showed that small and medium-sized employers actually compare favorably.
- Federal and state leave mandates represent management challenges for every employer. Despite the additional compliance burden in response to COVID-19, 80% of respondents reported they are not struggling to comply with mandated leaves. This may be a function of the generally smaller geographic footprint of small- to mid-size employers.
- Only a quarter provide paid parental leave, and the majority (84%) do not plan to add to or expand these benefits.
- Telecommuting is here to stay. Nine out of 10 respondents embraced telecommuting, and as they continue to emerge from the pandemic, half say they will make it permanent. There’s reason beyond simple expediency to do so: not only does it give employees greater flexibility and work-life balance, but three-fourths of those who allowed remote work before the pandemic saw no difference in performance.
- A turbulent 2020 caused employers to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with 17% of respondents re-evaluating paid holidays and 14% making changes.