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Workers' Compensation Webcast: Best Practices in Absence Management and Employee Wellness


Employers can better manage occupational and non-occupational absence and encourage employee health through integrated programs, according to a panel of experts who spoke during a recent Marsh workers’ compensation webcast.

The panel reviewed results from Mercer’s upcoming 2015 Survey on Absence and Disability Management. They also discussed how employers can apply occupational injury management techniques to their non-occupational programs, including return-to-work strategies for employees on short-term disability.

“We have seen many clients develop successful return-to-work programs on the occupational side first” before expanding them to include non-occupational disabilities, said Randi Urkov, a managing director at Marsh Risk Consulting. “Workers’ compensation return-to-work programs can provide a proven framework to develop a non-occupational return-to-work program.”

Panelists from Marsh, Mercer, and Corning International also discussed:

  • The benefits of integrated health and disability management programs. For employees, such programs can help reduce occurrences of chronic illnesses and injuries, reduce absenteeism and “presenteeism”, and improve employee productivity, said Rich Babcock, a principal at Mercer. For employers, these programs can also contribute to lower group health, disability, and workers’ compensation costs.

  • The growing use of third-party administrators to manage short-term disability and leave. The move to outsource disability and leave administration is driven in part by the growing complexity of state leave laws, increased employee demand for disability-related time off (both paid and unpaid), and improving vendor offerings.

  • Employers’ increasing use of paid time off (PTO) plans as a way to better compensate employees and remain competitive in the war for talent. “Having an attractive PTO plan that can meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce is critical in many industries,” said Alan Dale, a principal at Mercer.

  • The benefits of telehealth. Many employers are incorporating telehealth solutions into their group health programs to provide employees with a more affordable, convenient source of care, reduce employees’ reliance on hospital emergency room services, and reduce employees’ time away from work to access medical care.

Listen to the webcast replay.