The absence and disability management landscape continues to undergo significant change. Most of the changes are driven by the legal and regulatory initiatives surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Here are four trends to watch for in 2015.

Suits

1. Outsourcing of FMLA administration

We are continuing to see an increase in the number of employers who are outsourcing FMLA administration.

With the expansion of state leave provisions, and now local paid sick-leave laws cropping up, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay on top of all of the compliance requirements.

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2. Pleas for help with ADA administration

More employers are asking for assistance from their current short-term disability (STD), long-term disability insurance (LTD) and FMLA partners to help them manage the ADA process.

Many vendors have been developing tools and resources to help employers manage the accommodation requests and processes associated with ADA. We will continue to see an increase in this co-management process.

Workers

3. More disability disclosure pressure

The new federal disability hiring requirements have placed an additional reporting burden on employers. Employers must now invite applicants to disclose disability during the pre-offer and post-offer stage of employment and during the course of their employment, with a goal of 7 percent utilization for individuals with disabilities.

Many employers are finding it difficult to get employees to disclose a disability and meet the goal. We expect to see more to come from these regulations.

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4. An increase in interest in integrated absence and disability management

More employers are now seeing the benefit of integrating their benefits and risk programs. In other words: melding workers’ compensation, STD and LTD programs with FMLA and ADA compliance.

While my group, the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), has been advocating this concept for more than 20 years, it is becoming more relevant today due to the many compliance requirements place on employers that cross over traditionally siloed organizations.