Potential benefits found in integrating FMLA and EAP

Potential benefits found in integrating FMLA and EAP

A 2009 study by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) reported that the prevalence of depression among workers is close to 30 percent, and that 70 percent of these depressed employees go untreated. At the same time, 97 percent of employees who file a leave claim for depression also report other comorbid conditions. This is amplified when they are on leave caring for family members that need them. At a minimum there are emotional, financial, and lifestyle implications for these employees. For employers, the IBI study estimated the yearly cost in lost work time and medical treatments at $62,000 per 100 employees.

WorkPartners implemented a pilot program to engage more employees on leaves of absence with Life Solutions’ employee assistance services, providing them the resources they need at the right times and helping them manage a range of life challenges they may be facing.

The pilot results have a number of variables (type of leave, leave circumstances, etc.) that make assumptions about the effect on leave duration difficult; however, we were able to show these key accomplishments:

  • All employees transferred to EAP were open and supportive in hearing about the services available to them. The Life Solutions Care Managers experienced no employees who were negative about this step in the workflow.
  • In this pilot program, employees who utilized Life Solutions extra support during approved Continuous Leave experienced shorter leave time frames.

The five-month pilot involved employees calling in to request a leave for spouse, child, and/or parent. The Intake Specialists processed the leaves as normal, and near the end of the interaction would warm transfer the employee to Life Solutions. Next, the Life Solutions Care Manager engaged in motivational interviewing and conversation that gave the employee information on services that could assist the employee based on his or her individual situation. Each employee’s original Life Solutions Care Manager made an additional call within 30 days later to check on the employee and provide support if needed.

Throughout the pilot, all employees offered the warm transfer to Life Solutions accepted it for a 100 percent engagement rate. According to the care managers involved in the pilot, 12 percent of the transferred employees accepted supportive services beyond the discussion and informational flier sent to all callers who agreed to receive it.

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