Employer Compliance

January-March 2024

Ensuring employer compliance is more difficult today with an increasing number of leave laws and a growing recognition that true success in this realm requires compassion as well as flexibility, and a willingness to think outside the proverbial box. How do absence and disability managers walk the tightrope of legal requirements and support employees during emotional times in their lives? Does it require superpowers? This issue of @Work magazine illustrates the need for professionals to track leave laws (and their variations across the country) while taking a creative approach to accommodation requests to ensure compliance and help employees stay at work when possible and return to work when it is safe to do so.

The CEO’s Desk

Taking a People-First Approach to Employer Compliance

Do absence and disability managers have the superpower to sprinkle compassion into the compliance mix? In an industry governed by an intricate web of laws shaping our every move, the ability to forge meaningful connections with employees emerges as a pivotal factor with significant implications. Read more.


Encouraging Employees to Stay at Work or Return to Work Without Running Afoul of the Law

Are your absence and disability managers jumping to conclusions when it comes to an employee’s need for a leave of absence? Taking the time to reassess and ensure that integrated absence management professionals are assessing all angles could help employees stay at work when possible. Read more.

Employer Leave Policies Worth Revisiting

Even if you comply with all relevant leave laws and accommodate employee requests fairly, do your policies show employees how much you value their contributions, or are you inadvertently alienating some employees? Read more.

Spotlight Articles

Program Showcase

Different Types of Voluntary PFML

What are the employer takeaways and best practices for tracking different types of PFML across the U.S.? Read more.

Compliance Showcase

Equitable Employee Leaves

When assessing company benefits to bridge state differences in paid time off for employees, employers must consider how state requirements affect company leave policies. Read more.

Expanded Perspectives:
@Work to Share

DMEC provides the following @Work magazine articles and podcast episodes to offer additional perspectives on and increase awareness of integrated absence management trends and challenges. The resources — available to members and nonmembers — can be shared with your colleagues and through social media channels.

How Much Control Do Employers Have Over Intermittent Bonding?

How do regulations for the Family and Medical Leave Act and paid family and medical leave interact with employer policies and programs? Regular assessments help employers identify conflicts between mandated leave and business operations, and ensure compliance. Read more.

Employers Seek Ways to Turn the Tide on Employee Mental Health

As more employers recognize their role in employee mental health, and employees report a willingness to leave jobs that cause or exacerbate mental illness, absence and disability managers are seeking ways to customize and optimize their investments in employee health and wellness. Get insights from the 2024 DMEC Virtual Mental Health Conference! Read more.

Parental Leave Policy Pitfalls

Employers can mitigate potential compliance concerns with parental leave policies. Read more.

Redefining Culture and Its Costs: Undercover Project Perspectives

Nora Burns, keynote speaker for the 2024 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference talks about common (and costly) HR pitfalls and how absence and disability managers influence corporate culture. Get a sneak peek into what she will discuss during the conference in this Q&A and a recent DMEC podcast episode. Read more.

Family Leave Insurance: Integrating More Equity into Employer Paid Leaves

There are several new approaches to expanding employee access to paid family and medical leave, which leads more multistate employers to question how they can ensure equity across employee populations. Read more.

Reenvisioning Workforce Well-Being: Trends and Strategies for 2024

There is no way to stay abreast of myriad industry changes without a commitment to lifelong learning. And when you weigh the costs of prevention versus penalties, the choice is clear. To help employers stay one step ahead, DMEC has identified six trends to watch in 2024 based on collective intelligence, which we believe is more valuable than a crystal ball. Read more.

DMEC Podcast

Are You Controlling the Absence and Disability Management Message?

Does your organization consider leave as an event or a part of the employment process? Your answer might determine more than you think! Listen in as DMEC education team experts Kristin Jones, CLMS, PHR, SHRM-CP; and Jess Dudley, CLMS, CPDM, discuss how controlling the message of employee absence can be a deciding factor in program’s success! Listen in.

DMEC Podcast

How Do Employers Ensure Equity and Support Employees Where They Are?

Confused about paid family and medical leave (PFML) terminology? Learn about the evolution of PFML and get tips on how employers can set realistic expectations with private-sector employees in states where voluntary PFML is available from Jessica Bolar, senior product manager, PFML and Absence Management with The Standard. Listen in.


Absence Matters

Are You Ready for an FMLA Audit?

Too often employers assume that they are immune from a Department of Labor (DOL) audit for practices related to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because of size, location, or market segment. But the DOL has stepped up audits under the current administration,1 and complacency can be expensive. Read more.


Ready to Benchmark?

Using industry data to ensure employer benefit offerings are competitive, compliant, and cost-effective can help employers in myriad ways. What is the most strategic approach? Read more.

Engaging Today’s Workforce

Navigating PFML Options

Employers that take the time to understand the latest changes in paid family and medical leave laws across the U.S. can help employees understand leave options when and if they need them. Read more.

Employer Solutions

Compliance Through Collaboration and Creativity

Recent federal laws and regulations have expanded protections for pregnant and nursing employees. Taking a creative and collaborative approach during the interactive process can lead to effective accommodations and keep employers compliant! Read more.

Common Sense Compliance

The Key to Avoiding Lawsuits and Achieving a True Win

It is increasingly difficult to comply with a growing number of federal, state, and local leave laws especially since some apply to employers of certain sizes while others apply to employers of all sizes. Experts offer tips! Read more.

Featured Case

ADA and Navigating Impairments

What is the safest way for employers to respond to accommodation requests related to hearing impairment? These scenarios illustrate the importance of proceeding with caution. Read more.

The Disabled Workforce

Compliance and Beyond: Building a Culture of Civility

How can employers create environments where the goal is always to find a yes to accommodation requests? Reframe your approach! Read more.



Don’t miss a resource or a newly-released DMEC product or service! This issue includes information regarding a new legislative overview, the upcoming Oregon State Leave Laws Microcredential Course, updated record membership numbers, new Employer Advisory Council members and more. Read more.

Legislative Updates

Check out the latest federal, state, and local compliance updates on the DMEC Legislative Updates blog. Recent posts include information about Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Sick Leave Law, Massachusetts Paid Family Leave, updated rates for California EDD benefits, and more. Read more.

Be sure to follow DMEC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for additional insight and up-to-date news.

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Continue the Conversation

The DMECommunities Return to Work (RTW) group is a place to network and collaborate with your peers around best practices and solutions for returning employees back to work. DMEC’s online networking groups give you the opportunity to connect with industry peers, ask/answer questions, share resources, and seek feedback. Get started.

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@Work™ magazine is the official publication of the Disability Management Employer Coalition. Copyright© 2024. Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). All rights reserved.

Editorial Policy

The goal of @Work is to present industry and Association news, highlight member achievements, and promote the exchange of specialized professional information. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Association, its staff, board of directors, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers does not constitute an endorsement of products or services featured in this, past, or subsequent issues of this publication. DMEC makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to accuracy of the information contained in the articles, and no content herein is legal or tax advice. Consult appropriate professionals for legal or tax advice.

Editorial Staff

Editor: Heather Grimshaw
Editorial Advisory Group Members: Linda Croushore, Rebecca Fisco, Jenny Haykin, Terri Morris, Fred Schott, Jessica Thornton, and Lori Vickory