Digital Dos & Dont's of Leave Technology

Digital Dos & Dont's of Leave Technology
Written by Patricia Purdy


Many employers are exploring technology to support internal leave processes and practices. While technology may help you solve challenges with process efficiencies and achievement of regulatory compliance, there are several things to be aware of as you investigate the variety of technology applications now available in the market.


✓ DO: Identify capabilities to integrate with HRIS platforms and other vendor partners, such as  Long Term Disability, Worker’s Compensation or Wellness 

✓ DO: Verify file specifications, as well as any fees associated with inbound and/or outbound file  feeds

× DON’T: Overlook engaging IT partners as early as possible; include them in project planning,  timing, and in the evaluation of any potential software solution 


✓ DO: Outline the requirements of the vendor software

✓ DO: Document workflows for administration of company leaves, disability, Federal, State, and  municipal mandates

✓ DO: Use your workflows to refine software requirements and use them as part of your vendor  selection process

× DON’T: Let it fall between the cracks; defining roles and responsibilities of the employer  infrastructure that will support leave management is crucial

Technology: Case Level Management Requirements

✓ DO: Ensure the technology has the flexibility to meet the needs of the employee population

✓ DO: Identify what is critical for your organization

× DON’T: Omit unique requirements 

  • Average work week 

  • Multiple work schedules

  • Multiple entitlement methodologies 

Technology: Software Functionality

✓ DO: Confirm the technology has preconfigured role-based permissions 

  • Defining roles, including “superusers,” will determine functionality, view access, and  utilization for teams administering leave 

  • Capabilities to make changes and updates to the system independent of vendor IT  support 

× DON’T: Dismiss the technology’s intuitive workflow wizards, task tracking, and automated alerts  and instead build from scratch 

  • Ensure compliance with timeframes and documentation 

  • Implement tools to manage caseloads with much greater ease 

Technology: Customized Communication

✓ DO: Understand how communications are uploaded, downloaded, and linked to an employee  claim file 

✓ DO: Confirm what communications are automated or require manual initiation ✓ DON’T: Presume the system’s intake scripting and library of communication materials needs to be highly customized 

  • Vendors offer the ability to customize and brand communications to employees

  • Large degrees of customization, defined individually by each vendor, can lead to additional fees and an increased amount of work for your team to maintain 

Technology: Customized Reporting

✓ DO: Request sample reports while sourcing for a vendor; systems offer: 

  • Robust, real-time reporting capabilities 

  • Ability to migrate data into a larger data warehouse 

× DON’T: Take for granted that standard industry reports are included and that customized  organizational and operational reports can be configured 

Ensure reports can be scheduled and pushed/manually pulled by users 

Technology: Self-Service Employee & Employee Tools

✓ DO: Decide if self-service access for employees is right for your organization and culture; software can provide employees and employers with the convenient ability to: 

  • Communicate in real time 

  • Initiate claims on-line 

  • Report intermittent time 

  • Provide updates to the case managers 

  • Access to forms and documents on-line 

Online portals can be configured to provide varying levels of information, based on role, and can  be branded with employer logos and colors 

Technology: Implementation & Ongoing Maintenance

✓ DO: Perform user testing during implementation 

  • Systems should be configured according to employer specs

  • Multiple individuals should be involved in developing and applying testing scenarios 

Some vendor systems provide employer with capability to make minor configuration changes  independently or with minimal vendor account management, IT, or help desk support

Software vendors have a different account management approach than what may have been experienced in the past with a carrier/TPA

  • Users typically engage the vendor help desk and not the account manager for support  needs

Technology: Cost & Contract Terms

✓ DO: Read the contract 

  • Most technology contracts have clever terms and conditions you’re responsible for, even  if you decline to read them 

  • Understand cost basis and additional fees 

✓ DO: Understand the meaning of “evergreen” 

  • Know the terms, especially renewal terms and the number of days required for notice to  opt out 

✓ DO: Design Service Level Agreements (SLAs) 

  • There can and will be times of outages – plan your recourse if the service goes down • SLAs are often added only if you request them 

  • Understand remedy options and penalties the provider will pay if they fail to provide the  service you contracted 

× DON’T: Forget to negotiate everything 

  • Demand a discount and then ask for more – most providers begin negotiations with  plenty of room to negotiate

All Topics: Leave

Patricia Purdy

About the author

Patricia Purdy

Pat has 30+ years of group insurance experience including product development, client services, sales and marketing. She leads client retention and new business development for Pacific Resources. She works with large employers to deliver customized employee benefits solutions in the areas of leave management, life, disability, dental and voluntary insurance coverages, executive benefits, and technology solutions.

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