Absence Management Express DMEC April, 2013


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Deborah Jacobs, MS Manager, Disability Management Southern California Edison
Bryon Bass SVP, Absence Management Practice Sedgwick

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Absence Management Express DMEC April, 2013

  1. 1. Absence Management Express:Southern California Edison’s RTW and ADA Programs
  2. 2. 2Presentation team• Deborah Jacobs, MSManager, Disability ManagementSouthern California Edison• Bryon BassSVP, Absence Management PracticeSedgwick
  3. 3. 3Introduction
  4. 4. 4Most Difficult Activities Persist61%58%48%47%40%26%24%56%60%51%59%48%37%28%Tracking intermittent time previously takenTracking intermittent time during leaveInteracting with ADA and ADAAATransferring employees to alternative positionsObtaining second and third medical opinionsFacilitating return to workTracking continuous time previously takenFMLA Activities Ranked as Difficult/Extremely Difficult20122011Source: DMEC & Spring Consulting Group 2012 Employer Leave Management Survey
  5. 5. 5Employers asking for assistance with ADA process• Increased interest in understanding how TPA can assistwith RTW/ADA– Typically, STD Management programs incorporatetransitional return to work into practices– On the other hand, LOA Management does notincorporate a structured transitional RTW• What about those situations when a STD or LOA claimhas not been initiated?
  6. 6. 6How employers are respondingImplement structured transitionalreturn to work/stay at workprograms for both occupationaland non-occupational programs• Provide opportunity for disabledemployees to ask foraccommodation in their jobs beforehaving to go out ona leave• For those on leave, determine iftransitional duty would allow theemployee to return to work earlierthrough minor modificationsIncorporate pathways to ADAassessment into leave, short-term disability and workers’compensation programs• Build pathways to transitionalreturn to work programs• Prior to exhaustion of job-protected leave underFMLA, determine if disabledemployee can be accommodatedin work environment or ifadditional unpaid, protected leaveunder ADA is appropriate
  7. 7. 7Two primary models: medical substantiationObtain medical information form health care providerVendor will interfacedirectly with health careprovider and employeeto obtain medicalinformationVendor provides detailedmedical information toClient – typically acentralized ADA teamresponsible for theanalysis and next stepsClient responsible fornext steps (limitationassessment, interactiveprocess, accommodationdecision)
  8. 8. 8Two primary models: full ADA assessmentProvide full service ADA Assessment service for employers upthrough final accommodation decisionVendor willinterface directlywith health careprovider andemployee to obtainmedicalinformationClient providesessential jobfunctions ofpositionVoc RehabSpecialist willassess limitationsand offersaccommodationrecommendationsVoc RehabSpecialist will leadinteractive processClient responsiblefor final decision onreasonableaccommodationandimplementation
  9. 9. 9Southern California Edison (SCE)• One of the largest investor-owned electric utilities• Providing electricity to over 14M people over 50K square miles of territory• Over 16,000 employees, primarily in California• Strong union presence - three active unions• Self-insured, Third-Party Administered (TPA), Voluntary Disability Plan andLong Term Disability (LTD)• Self-insured/self-administered Workers’ Compensation• TPA administered FMLA and Tier 1 Accommodations• Self-administered Return to Work Program/Tier 2 Accommodations
  10. 10. 10ADA is everywhere• The ADA amendments act has vastly widened the definition of whois covered under ADA• This means “ADA” is now touching more of disability, leave andabsence processes than ever before.• Throughout our presentation look for our “ADA mascot”to see where ADA is applicable.
  11. 11. 11SCE’s programs and tools• Being primarily in California with FEHA laws, SCE had toapply compliance tools early :– Transitional RTW– Formalized accommodations process– Absence management express– Return to Work Program (RTWP)– Formalized leave protection beyond FMLA Process
  12. 12. 12Transitional RTW
  13. 13. 13Transitional return to work (TRTW)• Dedicated resources:– TPA for Non-Occupational– SCE work comp staff for Occupational• TPA claim examiners/nurse can refer or TRTW identifies from agreedupon criteria• TRTW works with employee, supervisor and physician for TRTWplan• TRTW follows up after RTW until full release or back at work 30/90days (STD/LTD)• Monthly Organization/Business Unit partner team meetings reviewlist of employees off work for potential TRTW
  14. 14. 14Results05,00010,00015,00020,00025,00030,00035,00040,000Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4HoursTRTW Savings (Hours)2011 2012TRTW Savings2011 2012 % Y/YQ1 14,518 23,884 65%Q2 13,290 35,510 167%Q3 22,007 29,614 35%Q4 18,530 25,232 36%Year End 68,345 114,240 67%
  15. 15. 15Accommodations
  16. 16. 162. TPA GathersMedical Support3. TPA ContactsWork Location4. Disability ManagementFollows Up• Employee tells supervisor, DisabilityManagement, or TPA that he/she is havingdifficulty doing his/her job due to amedical condition; or• Employee’s spouse (third party) callssupervisor, Disability Management,or TPA to report restrictions ordifficulties; or• Employee presents doctor’snote that recommends anaccommodation or indicatesrestrictions• If work location says they canaccommodate then a report back towork date/accommodation startdate is established.• If the work location says that theycannot accommodate, or there is aplan for equipment, the case isreferred to Disability Management.• Disability Management contacts thework location to confirm there is abusiness reason why they cannotaccommodate and that it will hold upunder the law.• Disability Management helps worklocation explore options foraccommodations.• Disability Management orders andprovides any equipment that isrequired.• Accommodation request isdocumented.• Once documentation is receivedand a clear understanding ofwhat is being requested isconfirmed, TPA contacts thework location asking if they areable to accommodate.1. Identifying the NeedAccommodation request and process
  17. 17. 17Stats on accommodationsTwo groups of accommodations:Group 1 – Existing disability claim with restrictions accommodatedGroup 2 – At work accommodated to stay at work
  18. 18. 18Absence Management Express
  19. 19. 19Absence management express - why?• Employees on extended disabilities do recover from their illnesses or injuries• Work locations and employees report difficulties with return to workprocess, when it has been an extended absence• Extended absence return to work cases requirecase-by-case analysis• Multiple organizations can contribute in theextended absence return to work process• Ensure company is complying withlaws and company policies• Employees with disabilities areentitled to job accommodationsand an interactive process
  20. 20. 20Absence management express concept• Direct Supervisor/Manager is ultimate decision-maker• Direct Supervisor/Manager usually needs assistance• When event occurs, bringing support groups together can make theoutcome more effective– Support groups are invited based on the supervisor’s responses toa survey tool, and Disability Management arranges meeting– Supervisor, Manager, HR Business Rep are all invited to attend inperson or call into the meeting• Understanding roles and responsibilities also makes outcomesmore effective
  21. 21. 21ThreeBusinessDaysTwoBusinessDaysOneBusinessDayOneBusinessDayTPANotifiesDMTPAdeterminesLTD ends in 30Calendar daysDM loads dataand sendssurvey tomgr/supMgr/SupSubmits SurveyDM CreatesMinutes andActionItems andDistributesNote: Process will proceed if an appeal occurs; DM will inform participants there is an appeal pending which may effectthe action plan and move return to work date.Meeting isHeld – inperson andConf CallWelcomeDM Assessesand SchedulesMeetingThreeBusinessDaysAbsence management express – the process
  22. 22. 22Survey tool• The purpose of the survey is to determine a suitable scenario which appliesto a specific extended absence return to work situation.– Supervisor’s responses to the survey questions will help to clarify otherorganizations who may have supporting roles in the extended absencereturn to work process.– The initial email contact is tothe Supervisor of record inthe system.– The appropriate peopleare invited to attend theAbsence ManagementExpress meeting.– Critical question has been on whether job is available
  23. 23. 23Absence management express meeting participantsManagers/Supervisors requested:– Diversity and inclusion– Ethics and compliance– Employee relations/labor relations– Security
  24. 24. 24Absence management express outcomesOutcomes %Litigated 0%In Process of Returning to Work 7%Returned to Work 7%In the Return to Work Program 39%Appeal in Process 3%LTD Reinstated/Extended 7%Workers’ Comp Claim on CDP While TTD 3%Awaiting Work Location Response 7%Involuntary Separation 14%Voluntary Separation 3%Retired 10%
  25. 25. 25Return to Work Program
  26. 26. 26Return to work program (RTWP)• Permanent work restrictions that preclude employeefrom performing their own job• Eligible employees approved for LTD can also voluntarilyparticipate in the Return to Work Program– 2½ years maximum– 70% of pay (less offsets)– Provide re-training and job search resources– Bonus for finding own job
  27. 27. 27Return to work program (RTWP)Temporary RTWP assignments for maximum one (1) year• Disability Management will pay for 50% of the work location laborcosts.Permanent job placements• Disability Management will pay for 100% of the work location laborcosts for one (1) year.Supplemental pay• Disability Management will supplement the employee’s salary to oldjob rate if they return in a lower paying job.
  28. 28. 28Return to work program (RTWP) rate challengeFactors impacting RTWP job placements:• Current job posting process was not consistently reviewing potential RTWPcandidates as preferred candidates• Not all recruiters were aware of RTWP preferential placement requirementor process• Our RTWP candidates resumes and interview skills were lacking• Managers/Supervisors were not aware that DM pays 100% labor for oneyear for RTWP regular job placements• Work locations may be over utilizing contingent workers for positions RTWPemployees could perform even on a temporary basis
  29. 29. 29Return to work program (RTWP) rate challengeOur Solution phase includes:• Cross-functional team of Talent Management & Disability Management• Formalizing review of RTWP employees prior to job posting• Educating Talent Management recruiters• Hosted a “Train the Counselor” all day seminar with a Career Coach who hasexpertise in SCE resumes/interviewing• Hosted an all day seminar for all current RTWP employees with same CareerCoach on Career Skills• In the Loop article to bring awareness of RTWP project• Distributing listing of RTWP employees to SBT, Org Unit partner teams andpotentially Executive team• Conduct review of potential contingent worker job duties with RTWPemployees capabilities
  30. 30. 30RTWP rate challenge – results so far32% reductionin number ofRTWPemployeesRTWPcounselorsbetter equippedto assist theirRTWP clientsRTWPemployeesbetter equippedfor theiralternate jobsearchSynergybetween TalentManagementand DisabilityManagement
  31. 31. 31New FMLA Process
  32. 32. 32Beyond FMLADrivers for Improvement:• ADA requires consideration of protected leave beyond FMLA incertain circumstances• SCE wants a more consistent approach• Manager/supervisors want more support• Need for formal tracking• Provide more support for alternate jobsearch process
  33. 33. 33Future process changesProcess One – Employee on disability with no FMLA Job Protection• Single Point of Contact (SPOC) notified that employee is off beyond FMLA• SPOC contacts supervisor/managers with 3 Options:– Hold position – short term (less than 6 months)– Hold position – long term (more than 6 months less than 2 years)– Backfill now (requires meeting usually with law, ER/LR)– (Note: informational meeting can be held if Sup/Mgr undecided)• SPOC tracks and follows up on short –term and long termholds including any agreed upon extensions• SPOC letter process (warning and notification thatposition no longer held)• Result: When Employee is released, Employeeand Company know whether or not theposition was held
  34. 34. 34Beyond FMLAProcess Two – Employee Beyond FMLA now able to RTW• SPOC responsible for oversight on entire process• SPOC notified that employee released to return to work• If position was held, normal absence management express• If position backfilled, start interactive process for alternate job search– Discuss options with employee (interactive process)– Open comparable positions in same Work Group? Organization?Business Unit?– If no open positions, start company wide search including usingorg/partner teams– Lessor positions also considered after comparable search ends• If no open comparable or lessor positions, declarebusiness case for surplus and possible severancepackage• If employee refuses a reasonable alternate joboffer, potential termination without severance
  35. 35. Questions?