2022 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer
Compliance Conference

Session and Speaker Agenda

DMEC Compliance Conference AttendeesAbsence and disability professionals are tasked with limiting risk for their organizations through effective management of FMLA and ADA programs. Each day, complex questions arise that require compliant solutions.

The 2022 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference, Mar. 21-24, 2022, in Los Angeles, CA, will answer these questions, giving you the opportunity to serve as a compliance expert in your organization.

Agenda Highlights
  • 19 Education Sessions & Panel Discussions: This year’s content covers updates from the DOL, ongoing pandemic considerations and compliance, accommodation challenges, paid leave policies, and much more!
  • 13+ Hours of Networking & Roundtable Discussions: We know you’ve missed face-to-face networking so we’ve built in extra time for connection and conversation with peers, industry experts, and vendor partners.

Monday, Mar. 21

7:00 am-5:00 pm – Registration Open

8:45-9:00 am – Welcome & Overview

Presenters:
Kevin Curry, Board Chairman, DMEC & Chief Revenue Officer, ReedGroup
Terri L. Rhodes, CCMP, CLMS, CPDM, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, DMEC

9:00-10:00 am – The Pandemic’s Impact on Employee Leave & Accommodations in the Workplace

In the post-pandemic world, there are new laws, regulations, and challenges for employers to comply with. In this session, you’ll learn more about what happens to COVID-19-related laws once states of emergency end, what state and private plan options you have, and how you can equip your employees to participate in the ADA interactive process. We will also dive into case law and COVID-19-related guidance as to how state mandated leave laws and the ADA interact and the associated impact on your business. We’ll share how hybrid work schedules that blend workdays in office and home interface with regulations and employee benefits when employees work and live in different jurisdictions.

Speakers:
Tony Dulgerian, Senior Counsel, Legal Affairs, MetLife
Gina Rutledge, Manager, Paid Family and Medical Leave Product Management & Strategic Planning, MetLife

*Sponsored session

10:00-10:30 am – Coffee & Conversation Break
10:30-11:30 am – Deep Dive Into Intermittent Leave Challenges

One of the most vexing challenges for employers under the FMLA is managing intermittent leave. Intermittent leave must also be managed under many other laws, including the ADA, even more paid family and medical leave laws, and pregnancy accommodation laws. In this session, we will examine tricky intermittent leave scenarios and provide common sense compliance solutions. We’ll also explore tools available to employers under the FMLA to manage intermittent leave abuse, including recertification and enforcement of call-in procedures. Through lively discussion and debate, you’ll discover the pros and cons of various approaches to intermittent leave management.

Speakers:
Abigail O’Connell, Senior Counsel, Sun Life US
Marjory Robertson, AVP and Senior Counsel, Sun Life US

*Sponsored session

11:30 am-1:00 pm – Lunch On Your Own
1:00-2:00 pm – Combatting Excessive Leave: Managing FMLA Leave Misuse and Abuse

Leave management is hard work, and when addressing excessive leave use, abuse, and misuse, that job gets even tougher! From perceived FMLA manipulation to employees attempting to leverage psychological stressors for a job change, it can be difficult to differentiate between personal medical needs and personal preferences. How do organizations manage leave and minimize the financial impact of excessive leave usage? In this session, explore proven strategies and methods, which have been implemented in more than 200 organizations across the U.S. You’ll define your objectives, determine your leave management team’s approach, and walk away ready to consistently apply an effective practice.

Speaker:
Rachel Shaw, BA, MBA, President, Shaw HR Consulting

*Sponsored session

2:00-2:30 pm – Coffee & Conversation Break
2:30-3:30 pm – ADA: Accommodating the New Normal

The world of work today may not be exactly how we left it two years ago when COVID-19 upended everything. In some ways, it may be even better! Lessons in adaptability, flexibility, and compassion have emerged since the onset of the pandemic. The ADA has been around for 32 years to help employers and employees work together to find effective accommodations, and the pandemic has led to new, creative options. In this session, you’ll hear how employers navigated the pandemic by supporting their on-site and remote workforce and what it takes to maintain ADA compliant programs with an increase in leave laws in today’s new normal.

Speakers:
Alicia Heine, MA, CRC, CCM, CDMS, CEAS, Program Consultant and ADA Coach, The Hartford
John Robinson, CPCU, VBS, Assistant Director, Absence Solutions, The Hartford

*Sponsored session

3:30-4:30 pm – Next-Level Accommodation and ADA Challenges

The job accommodation and ADA compliance bar has dramatically risen, requiring a higher level of competence, ADA analysis, and engagement in the interactive accommodation process. Level-up your ADA and accommodation game and learn practical ways to master complex accommodation and ADA situations. In this session, we’ll share expert guidance on conducting the interactive process, addressing performance issues, modifying workplace policies, managing leave and attendance, and providing reasonable accommodations in a pandemic world.

Speaker:
Tracie DeFreitas, MS, Principal Consultant, ADA Specialist, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

5:00-6:00 pm – First-Time Attendee Orientation & Mixer

First-time attendees can join us for a chance to network with other attendees and get an overview of what to expect at this year’s conference.

6:00-7:00 pm – Opening Welcome Reception

Mix and mingle with colleagues and peers from across the country at the opening networking reception.

Sponsored by:
Our 2022 Partner Sponsors

Tuesday, Mar. 22

7:00 am-5:00 pm – Registration Open
7:00-8:30 am – Breakfast with Exhibitors

8:30-9:30 am – Opening Keynote Session – Disabilities in Today’s Workforce: How Trauma Shaped One HR Executive’s Business Practices

At the time of the Boston Marathon bombing, Heather Abbott enjoyed a high-powered career as a human resources executive with a Fortune 50 company. Key to her job responsibilities was a focus on equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and hiring and retention of women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Little did Heather know that one day she would become the very kind of employee she was entrusted to protect. Hear how Heather’s professional views changed as a result of her traumatic injury, and how businesses today can benefit from her experience.

Keynote Speaker:
Heather Abbott, Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

9:30-10:15 am – Coffee & Conversation Break with Exhibitors
10:15-11:15 am – How to be a Star by Avoiding Compliance Faux Pas

What every employer wants is to avoid litigation due to compliance mistakes, and you can be a star by avoiding these kinds of problems. In this session, we will outline the rules of the road, show common pitfalls illustrated by recent case law and agency action, and share tools you need to create a compliant policy structure. Managing USERRA and paid military leaves, setting up and implementing sound vaccine policies, and creating contemporary, compliant parental leave policies will all be covered, and we’ll review often-overlooked details that can lead to real problems for employers and illuminate the road to compliance stardom for you.

Speaker:
Kevin Curry, Board Chairman, DMEC & Chief Revenue Officer, ReedGroup
Carla Flinn, JD, Vice President, Absence Management Best Practices, ReedGroup

*Sponsored session

11:15 am-12:15 pm – Simplifying Compliance Through Policy Design

Lately, a significant amount of attention has been given to employer’s leave of absence, paid time off, attendance, and work-from-home policies. Due to recent events, specifically the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to attract, retain, and manage top talent, employers need to create and update policies to keep up with current market demands. In this session, we’ll help employers understand how thoughtful policy design can simplify and relieve much of their compliance burden. Our panel of experts will offer tips and solutions around employer policies concerning absence, disability, paid leave, attendance, remote work, and workplace accommodations.

Speakers:
Ambrosia Nelson, MA, CPDM, Principal – Life, Absence and Disability (LAD), Mercer
Charles Price, Product Manager, FINEOS

Moderator:
Christy Traupe, Product Market Manager, FINEOS

*Sponsored session

12:15-1:30 pm – Lunch with Exhibitors
12:30-1:00 pm – DMEC Solutions Stage: Intelligent Automation for Streamlining Employee Processes

A process-driven approach can save time and keep you compliant with ever-changing rules and regulations. In this solutions stage presentation, learn how the Pulpstream platform is making a difference in managing Employee Benefit Processes in organizations like yours.

Speaker:
Romy Malviya, Founder/EVP of Business Development, Pulpstream

1:30-2:30 pm – National Paid Family Leave for All…Or Is It?

Federal paid family leave has seen its ups and downs over the years — most notably over the course of the last six months. This uncertainty has left absence management professionals unsure of what the future holds. Join our panel of experts as they discuss the most up-to-date information available regarding the national paid family leave legislation. Our panelists will discuss the current status of the legislation and predictions for the future.

Panelist:
Helen M. Applewhaite, Branch Chief, Branch of FMLA and Other Labor Standards, Wage and Hour Division, US DOL
Jonathan Renfrew, MA, Vice President, Federal Affairs, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Marjory Robertson, AVP and Senior Counsel, Sun Life US

2:30-3:15 pm – Dessert Break with Exhibitors

Sponsored by:
Morgan, Brown & Joy

3:15-4:15 pm – Roundtable Discussions

Join your peers for small-group discussions on hot topics covered during the week’s sessions. Share challenges, opportunities, and best practices from your organization’s experience.

4:15-4:30 pm – Break
4:30-5:30 pm – Employer Panel: Finding the Leave Balance

It’s a delicate balance for employers as they work to bring both the legal and practical aspects of their leave policies together. In this panel discussion, we’ll discuss how to balance current and upcoming changes in the absence landscape while building a future strategy that is manageable. We will discuss how state leave programs impact unpaid leave laws and company leave strategy and explore the impacts and evolution of COVID-19 and the growing importance of company paid leave.

Speakers:
Joanne Archer, VP, Product Solutions Management, Lincoln Financial Group
Ryan L. Green, Life@ Program Manager, Time Away, Meta
Sarah Montgomery, AVP, Senior Counsel, Lincoln Financial Group
Kristin Seidman, Senior Product Manager, State Disability and Paid Family & Medical Leave, Lincoln Financial Group

*Sponsored session

5:30-6:30 pm – Happy Hour with Exhibitors

Come mingle and relax with attendees and exhibitors after a full day of sessions. Enjoy complimentary drinks and nibbles during happy hour.

Sponsored by:
Sedgwick

Wednesday, Mar. 23

7:00 am-5:00 pm – Registration Open
7:00-8:00 am – Breakfast with Exhibitors

8:00-8:30 am – DOL FMLA Updates

While the world has been overwhelmed with ever-evolving updates around return-to-office considerations and vaccine mandates, life hasn’t slowed down for the Department of Labor (DOL) either! Come hear what’s new from the DOL with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enforcement and compliance assistance. An official from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will get us up to speed on all things FMLA, including compliance trends and challenges from the perspective of the FMLA’s governing agency.

Invited Speaker:
Helen M. Applewhaite, Branch Chief, Branch of FMLA and Other Labor Standards, Wage and Hour Division, US DOL

8:30-9:30 am – Disability, Leave, and Reasonable Accommodation: Year In Review & Future Forecast

The last two years have been a whirlwind of change and challenges for absence and disability management professionals. In this session, we’ll review top ADA and FMLA court decisions as well as new legislation and executive orders that shaped the workplace in 2021. We’ll also take a look at what’s next for your organization and answer some pressing questions around ongoing pandemic considerations as we move into 2022 and beyond.

Speakers:
Sheri L. Giger, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC
David Mohl, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC

9:30-10:15 am – Coffee & Conversation Break with Exhibitors
10:15-11:15 am – Return to Work: Exploring Effective and Compliant Solutions

Return to work is a difficult concept to figure out when you think about all of the other important tasks HR professionals and supervisors are responsible for handling. In this session, we’ll explore return-to-work options that should be presented when there is an occupational or a non-occupational injury or illness and how these options help get employees back to work and keep the company compliant. And we’ll have a little fun exploring these concepts and issues as “Sheldon Cooper” sits down once again with the “HR Director” to discuss modified duty, the ADA, and the countless other questions that can surface in the course of a conversation.

Speaker:
Bryon Bass, BS, CLMS, Senior Vice President, Workforce Absence, Sedgwick
Adam Morell, JD, Assistant Vice President, Product Compliance, Sedgwick

*Sponsored session

11:15 am-12:15 pm – PFML Best Practices: Tips and Tricks to Treat Employees Equitably

Not all employer family medical leave programs are created equal. Whether PFML programs vary due to employer size, administration, industry, or location, it’s essential that the programs not only follow legislation but also allow equal access and treatment for all employees. In this session, we will highlight case studies and share tips and tools to help navigate this complex and evolving benefit. Gain an understanding of best practices to comply with ADA and FMLA integration, industry-specific guidance for hospital and university systems, and common leave scenarios and accommodations.

Speakers:
Jessica Bolar, Product Manager, PFML and Absence, The Standard
Leah Ihnen, Director, PFML, The Standard
Samantha Reed, Sr. Statutory Business Consultant, The Standard

*Sponsored session

12:15-1:30 pm – Lunch with Exhibitors
1:30-2:30 pm – Paid Parental Leave: Beyond the Basics

More and more companies are finding that a paid parental leave policy is a crucial element to a robust total rewards program. Once a rare perk, they are becoming table stakes for many employees, and can help attract and retain top talent. In this session, we will draft a nondiscriminatory paid parental leave policy that is not only compliant with guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but that also tackles the thorny integration issues with short-term disability policies, statutory paid family and medical leave programs, and unpaid leave laws like the FMLA. We will also address the complex issues of understanding how our policies impact trans employees, employees in same sex marriages, and employees who are or use surrogates. Through group discussion and participation, we will end with a template policy that you can confidently use within your own organization.

Speakers:
Angel Bennett, AVP, Paid Leave & ADA Benefit Operations, Unum
Ellen Donovan McCann, JD, AVP, Counsel, Unum

2:30-3:15 pm – Dessert Break with Exhibitors

Sponsored by:
Morgan, Brown & Joy

3:15-4:15 pm – Roundtable Discussions

Join your peers for small-group discussions on hot topics covered during the week’s sessions. Share challenges, opportunities, and best practices from your organization’s experience.

4:15-4:30 pm – Break
4:30-5:30 pm – Can I Get Off at The Next Stop? Unbuckling Mandated Paid Sick Leave from Your PTO Policy

Due to the constantly evolving nature of mandatory paid sick leave (PSL) laws, a single bucket PTO system is becoming the road less traveled. In this session, we will show multi-state employers why they should consider dismantling their PTO policies into a two-bank system and how to do it. We will also discuss how to avoid the speed bumps of maintaining a single bucket of PTO and provide practical guidance and policy best practices for your organization to navigate the smoothest route on the PSL expressway.

Speakers:
Christine Hinnerichs, Account Manager, The Partners Group
Stephanie Mills-Gallan, Attorney at Law, Littler
Brycie Repphun, Account Executive, The Partners Group

Thursday, Mar. 24

7:00 am-12:00 pm – Registration Open
7:00-8:30 am – Breakfast

8:30-9:30 am – The Provider Says No Overtime: ADA and FMLA Compliance in the Face of Scheduling Challenges

Your employee provides a medical certification that says they cannot work overtime. Or that they can only work eight-hour shifts when the weekly schedule is four 10-hour shifts. Increasingly, employees are notifying their employers of medical restrictions that preclude working overtime or limit work during normal shift hours. This presents employers with challenges related to scheduling, productivity, interruption of business operations, fairness to other employees, and much more! In this session, we’ll identify FMLA and ADA issues employers face when overtime or scheduling becomes an issue such as calculating FMLA entitlement and usage or determining whether overtime is an essential function under the ADA. We’ll explore the steps an employer can take to deal with no overtime or other scheduling restrictions, and what options are available when it seems like there are none.

Speakers:
Martha Cardi, JD, Vice President, Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management, Inc
Lana Rupprecht, Director, Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management, Inc

*Sponsored session

9:30-9:45 am – Coffee & Conversation Break
9:45-10:45 am – Making Sense of Conflicting Workplace Safety Compliance Obligations

COVID-19 has held up a mirror to wholly uncoordinated and frequently conflicting laws and regulations impacting workplace safety and health. Without robust coordination, employers find return to work, fitness for duty, and infectious diseases exposure and prevention programs operating at cross-purposes. During this session, we will deconstruct the different public policy initiatives that underlie these uniquely different laws and drive potentially conflicting agency enforcement efforts. You’ll walk away with an understanding of this challenging workplace compliance issue and how you can help lead your organization to more holistic and integrated initiatives that will drive enhanced compliance, safety, and productivity.

Speakers:
Sheri L. Giger, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC
Courtney M. Malveaux, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC
Cepidah Roufougar, JD, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC

*Sponsored session

10:45 am-12:00 pm – Ask the Experts!

Our closing “Ask the Experts” session allows conference attendees to submit their most challenging questions to our panel of distinguished FMLA/ADA legal experts. You provide the uncensored questions, and they provide the unfiltered answers. This interactive discussion between attendees and panelists allows audience members to have their “real-world” questions answered by the specialists. Come prepared with your toughest questions and the most perplexing challenges faced by your company. And best of all, there will be no billable hours or consulting fees incurred!

Panelists:
Martha Cardi, JD, Vice President, Product Compliance, Matrix Absence Management, Inc
Megan Holstein, JD, EVP, Claims & Absence, FINEOS
Jaclyn L. Kugell, Partner, Morgan, Brown & Joy

12:00 pm – Closing Remarks & Grand Prize Drawing

Sponsored by:
Allsup