Program Showcase: Reducing Progression to STD

DMEC Staff

Finding a Path Through the Collage of the Leave Universe

Path Through the Leave UniverseBy Dr. Michael Lacroix

Associate Medical Director
Aetna Disability

From the 30,000-foot view, the “leave universe” looks like a collage of employee entitlements that don’t fit together neatly. Aetna found some new patterns in this collage that became the basis for an early intervention pilot program giving employees a large role in finding solutions for needs that result in leaves.

The entitlements collage has the long-established employer-funded benefits of short-term and long-term disability (STD and LTD) and the federal entitlements, including the military and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). But then there are also leaves for a variety of other reasons that may exist in one state, one city, or one employer: leaves for civil air patrol, paternity, school visitations, “snow days,” sabbaticals, etc.

While the collage may appear to be thrown together haphazardly, and with a nod to the human resources (HR) folks that may find it nightmarish to administer, one wonders whether the whole thing may not make more sense from the perspective of the end user, the employee who needs time off. Union members are renowned for their in-depth knowledge of union contracts, and consumers can be astute about using credit cards for different expenses. Is it possible that employees are savvy enough to find an optimal path for themselves through the maze?

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