Some workers who take federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave are much more likely to file short-term disability (STD) claims than others, and some workers who file STD claims are much more likely to file long-term disability (STD) claims than others.
Analysts at the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) look at the correlations in a new report based on survey data from 161 employers with about 520,000 employees. The data included covered the period from 2007 to 2011.
The IBI represents employers, health insurers, disability insurers, benefits consulting firms, health care products and services providers, and other organizations with an interest in the links between health and productivity.
The FMLA is a 20-year-old federal law that gives eligible workers access to up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid time off work. A worker can use FMLA leave to handle the worker’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member.
Some of the topics the IBI cover in the new report include how likely health-related absence cases are to evolve from one level of severity to the next.
The analysts, found, for example, that, over the five-year study period, 24 percent of all workers included took FMLA leave, 14 percent filed an STD claim and fewer than 1 percent filed an LTD claim.
In any given year, workers who had taken FMLA leave due to their own health problems were twice as likely to file STD claims as other workers.
STD claimants who had also used FMLA leave were twice as likely to filing LTD claims as STD claimants who had not used FMLA leave.
The IBI analysts also looked at the likelihood that a worker who had filed an STD claim resulting from a particular condition would end up filing an LTD claim.
“Neoplasms,” or tumors, topped the list, with 6.8 percent of the STD claimants with neoplasms eventually filing LTD claims.