Survey Finds 52% of Employees Seeking Workplace Accommodations Encounter Difficulty
News provided byACCESSWIRE
Sep 19, 2023, 8:00 AM ET
Report from AbsenceSoft Uncovers Opportunities for Employers to Improve Process and Support Employee Engagement
GOLDEN, CO / ACCESSWIRE / September 19, 2023 / AbsenceSoft, the leading SaaS platform for leave of absence and accommodations management, today released the results of its 2023 Accommodations in the Workplace Report. To better understand the employee experience around workplace accommodations, the company surveyed 600 individuals from across the U.S. who have requested a workplace accommodation and are currently employed by companies with at least 5,000 employees. The findings uncovered risks and opportunities for employers surrounding accommodations programs.
"We've noticed a significant uptick in workplace accommodation requests, driven in part by recent legal changes such as the Pregnant Worker's Fairness Act and the ongoing challenges of long-haul COVID. This surge is on top of an already considerable load of accommodation requests managed by HR teams," remarked Seth Turner, Chief Strategy Officer at AbsenceSoft. "HR teams and frontline managers want to do right by their employees, but they are overwhelmed by the number of requests and lack of clarity about what constitutes a compliant process."
Key Findings Highlight Areas of Improvement
The findings of the 2023 AbsenceSoft Accommodations in the Workplace Report suggest that employers need to consider a more intentional approach to workplace accommodations. Many front-line employees and people managers are unaware of accommodation requirements and programs at their workplace. Having training on accommodations and increasing company awareness helps mitigate many compliance challenges employers face. In addition to reducing legal risk, it creates an opportunity to foster a more engaging and supportive workplace for employees of all abilities. Key findings include:
- Half of respondents (50%) requested accommodation from their manager, not human resources or an online portal. With 80% of the U.S. workforce operating in a frontline capacity, employers must train supervisors to take accommodation requests seriously and know where to direct employees to get the right resources. Even the most well-intentioned programs fail when employees lack access or managers interfere.
- Just over half (55%) of employees experienced all the steps mandated as a part of the interactive process under - the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To ensure compliance with the law, employers must follow and fully document the ADA's interactive process for every accommodation request they receive.
- Two-thirds of employees struggled to understand the status of their request. Transparency is a challenge: 66% of survey respondents had difficulty knowing how the process was proceeding. Clear communication is critical to ensuring the employee feels heard and supported.
- When it came to knowing whether they would receive their requested accommodation, more than a third (36%) of respondents indicated they waited longer than a month or never received a response to their request. Employers taking extended periods to kick off the interactive process are likely failing to comply with the ADA's guidance to provide accommodations without undue delay. They could face potential legal action or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation.
"The findings tell a clear story - the accommodation process is a challenging web for everyone involved," said Ashlee Brennan, Vice President of Leave Compliance at AbsenceSoft. "The vast majority of requested accommodations have no significant financial burden for the employer, but any misstep when addressing an accommodation request can result in EEOC involvement and, in turn, reputational damage and costly litigation. The good news is that the actions employers must take are centered on process and training, which is well within their control. Many industry solutions, including AbsenceSoft, provide compliant resources for interactive process claims management and people manager training on ADA sensitivity."
The 2023 AbsenceSoft Workplace Accommodations Report offers additional insights and is available here.
AbsenceSoft, an absence management SaaS solutions provider, delivers modern, scalable, easy-to-use and flexible software to manage FMLA, ADA, disability, and other forms of leave easily, efficiently and cost-effectively. With AbsenceSoft, companies can process leaves 10 times faster than traditional methods, while ensuring compliance with the myriad of federal and state regulations. By streamlining the absenteeism management process, HR can improve the employee experience during an often stressful time. This results in increased employee satisfaction, higher productivity and reduced turnover. Founded in 2013 and based in Golden, Colo., and backed by Norwest, AbsenceSoft is trusted by companies of all sizes and in every industry to care for employees, save time and stay compliant. Learn more at https://www.absencesoft.com, or follow the company on LinkedIn.
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