Focused Education for Absence and Disability Professionals

Who We Are

The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) is the only association dedicated to providing focused education, knowledge, and networking for absence and disability professionals. Through our education programs, we deliver trusted strategies, tools, and resources to minimize lost work time, improve workforce productivity, and maintain legally compliant absence and disability programs.

We have hundreds of employer and supplier member organizations, representing over 16,000 absence and disability management professionals from across the U.S. and Canada. Regardless of organization or department size, we have programs and resources that can help any company manage their integrated absence management programs. Learn more about DMEC membership.

2021: A Year in Review

The second year of the pandemic brought a variety of unique challenges for employers across the country — including rising ADA accommodation requests, shifting return to the workplace plans, expanding mental health concerns, and evolving vaccine mandates and policies. DMEC’s 2021 Year in Review report offers a look back on 2021 and explores how DMEC supported the absence and disability management community through education, resources, and networking opportunities.

Our Mission

DMEC’s mission is to advance strategies and resources that improve workforce productivity by minimizing the impact of absence and disability through education, networking, and other resources.

Our Core Values

DMEC strives to embody five core values in our day-to-day interactions with members, sponsors, and each other.

Passion

We are passionate about the work we do each day to support the mission and vision of DMEC.  From daily tasks to strategic projects, we put our heart and soul into our work. And we believe that passion is catching. Our goal is that our members and customers see our passion and embrace and share the vision of DMEC.

Reputation Matters

Integrity and honesty are what matter most in our interactions with members, customers, and each other. We strive to always do what we say we’re going to do. And if we fall a bit short, we take ownership of our mistakes and do a better job next time.

Forward Thinking

Today’s effort and planning ensure tomorrow’s success. Whether it’s new tools or new systems, we’re always looking for better ways to serve our members and customers now and in the future. And we put our money where our mouth is by committing our time, effort, and resources to advancing the mission of DMEC for years to come.

Collaborative

We know we’re only as strong as our team, our members, and our customers. Everyone’s voice and expertise matter. That’s why we encourage our staff, volunteers, and sponsors to play a crucial role in charting our course and building our future.  It takes a village to get where we want to be, and we’re committed to creating a connected community to help us get there.

Member-Focused

There’s a reason why members say they feel at home with DMEC. We’re here for them … to empower them to be better employers. And that shows up in every interaction we have. Whether they need help getting registered or need a resource to tackle a tough issue, we’re focused on meeting their needs in any way we can.

History

In 1992, the state of California was considering implementing employer-paid, universal healthcare coverage. DMEC co-founders, Sharon Kaleta and Marcia Carruthers recognized that if such a program were implemented, there would be a need to measure and manage the full cost of absence and disability. They also recognized that there wasn’t a forum for people in the industry to talk and share best practices around integrated disability management.

In response, they started DMEC with the goal of providing a place for disability professionals to come together to discuss the issues impacting the industry and develop strategies for improving employee productivity through integrated programs and return-to-work strategies.

Also in 1996, the first national DMEC Annual Conference was held in San Diego. Over the years, the annual conference continued to grow, bringing in absence and disability professionals from across the country. In 2012, we held the first DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference.

DMEC also developed, over its 30-year history, resources and training programs to support the absence management community, including a professional designation, microcredential courses, industry-leading surveys and benchmarking reports, webinars, @Work magazine, and much more.

Download video transcript.

What’s Ahead

We continue to grow our membership and significantly expand educational programs and resource to more effectively serve the absence and disability community. In 2021, we introduced DMECommunities, our online networking platform for members. In 2022, we debuted Absence Management Perspectives: A DMEC Podcast, which features short conversations with “the people behind the processes” and offers insights and best practices on absence and disability management trends and topics.

We know that compliance with rapidly changing state and federal laws is a challenge for employers across the country. To help you and your organization effectively meet legal and regulatory challenges, we introduced our Certified Leave Management Specialist (CLMS) designation program in 2016, the FMLA/ADA Training for Supervisors and Managers in 2019, and our microcredential courses in 2021. Additional microcredential courses have been released in 2022 and more are underway.

We’re also focused on growing our two face-to-face conferences, the DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference and the DMEC Annual Conference and providing an opportunity for anyone, whether they’re from a small or large company or whether they’ve been in the industry for one year or 20 years, to gather the latest information from the best and brightest in our field and translate that into strong, legally compliant programs in their organizations.

Stay tuned for more information on these and other programs.