NU Online News Service, June 24, 3:15 p.m. – To help employers cut down on costly employee absences, Aetna Group Insurance, a division of Aetna Inc., Hartford, Conn., today announced that is has contracted with Reed Group, Ltd. to provide employee absence programs to employers.

Aetna, citing a study last year by Harris Interactive, a research firm in Rochester, N.Y., notes that unscheduled absences cost $600 per employee each year. Forty percent of absences were for personal illness, 21% for family matters and 20% for personal business, the study reported.

Reed Group publishes the Medical Disability Advisor, which publishes disability duration guidelines that its says are used by more than 10,000 multinational corporations, insurance carriers, rehabilitation firms, third-party administrators, occupational health professionals and physicians. Reed also provides disability and absence management services to employers. Its MDA Absence Manager monitors and measures both the administrative and clinical components of employee absence.

Aetna Group Insurance says it began partnering with Reed Group last year to provide Family Medical Leave Act administrative services. Its new absence program will track all kinds of employee absences from FMLA and maternity leave to vacation and bereavement.

“Tracking employee leave is costly in terms of company resources. It’s also risky in terms of non-compliance with federal and state law,” says Dong Ahn, executive director, Aetna Group Insurance. “Aetna’s employee absence program eases the employer’s burden of tracking associated with leave management.”