Technology Helps Employers Customize Leaves and Reduce Employee Confusion
By Chengchen Li, FSA, MAAA, CLMS, Founder and CEO, Penguin Benefits
Employers invest a significant amount of money in benefits to support employees and to bolster recruitment and retention efforts. Yet studies show that most American workers don’t understand their benefits,1 especially those that fall within the realm of paid and unpaid leaves.2
There is an opportunity for employers to reduce confusion — and build trust and loyalty — by helping employees understand their leave entitlements and use them. And data shows a growing need for this type of intervention.
Employees use the terms “frustrated” and “confused” when describing their journey to research and plan for parental leaves, according to hundreds of interviews3 with expecting or new parents, employers, and leave administrators. While research focused on employees in California, a complex state for leave benefits, the issues are common as more states mandate paid leave programs.
A key takeaway is that employees want basic questions answered before they go on leave, including acceptable duration for leave, what they will be paid, and the process for filing benefit claims. Some employees spend months researching answers to these questions before their leaves start; others don’t find answers until they are on leave; and many are surprised by waiting periods, concurrent benefits, and the need to file disability claims before exhausting bonding benefits.
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