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 19,700+ 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.

2023 Annual Report

Learn more about the accomplishments and initiatives that defined DMEC in 2023, reaffirming our dedication to supporting employers, individuals, and suppliers in navigating the dynamic landscape of absence and disability management.

The 2023 Annual Report highlights each of DMEC’s major programs and services, the growth we’ve experienced, and updates and enhancements we’ve made over the past year.

Our Mission

DMEC’s mission is to advance strategies, foster thought leadership, and provide employers, HR professionals, absence management practitioners, and suppliers with trusted tools, education, and networking opportunities necessary to effectively manage absence, disability, and time-off challenges in the workplace.

Our Core Values

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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Our Impact

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 provide insights on current and emerging strategies through our many publications, including the Leave Management survey, white-papers and the AbsenceExemplarTM absence plan design & practices benchmarking dashboard. AbsenceExemplarTM, released in 2023, provides membership with dynamic, self-service benchmarking dashboards to support employers as they build their plan design and practices.

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 2023 and more are underway.

We’re also focused on growing our two face-to-face conferences, the DMEC 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.

Terms of Use

This Terms of Use Agreement governs the use of DMEC’s websites and services. By accessing or using any part of the Services, users agree to be bound by the terms outlined in this Agreement. If users do not agree to these terms, they should refrain from accessing or using the Services. “Use” of the Services refers to any actual or attempted access or use, including transmission or exchange of information. This Agreement includes terms specific to DMEC websites, along with other applicable terms and policies, such as the Privacy Policy, which together constitute the entire agreement between users and DMEC, superseding any prior agreements or understandings.