Employee leave management deserves a digital transformation

Technology has transformed our lives and expectations at home and work—so why not leave management?

Nikki Henderson
Nikki Henderson
Employee leave management deserves a digital transformation

The founders of Cocoon saw that even stodgy industries, like banking, underwent digital transformations that simplified daily tasks and amplified more impactful work for employees and end-users. They wondered why this transformation hadn’t yet arrived for those managing the complexities of taking a leave of absence, before realizing they needed to be the ones to bring it into the world. 

Though SaaS platforms for planning and managing a leave are new, the idea of turning to tools and technology to automate, save time, and improve employee experiences is not. Companies offering competitive leave policies without the tools to help employees navigate them are losing time, money, and morale unnecessarily. Here’s what a digital transformation can bring to leave management for people and People teams:

Save time and money on payroll and benefits calculations

“It’s nerve-wracking making sure you’re coordinating everything between federal, state, and local laws, getting it right with payroll, and also informing the employee along the way.” — Gem HR leader
“I was in the hospital on the computer filling out the EDD form because you can’t prefill any of this stuff and if you miss the cutoff you don’t get paid...The payroll calcs are very complicated and to this day I don’t know if I was paid what I should have been.” Square employee

Despite the fact that more than 15 million people took leave in 2022 alone, and that potentially anyone could need to take a leave of absence, it’s still so complicated. All at once, employers and employees have to tackle eligibility, compliance, insurance claims, payroll—on a strict timeline. If anyone slips up (which is easy to do), it can lead to lost pay or breaking the law. Yet even the experts can be error-prone, because there are so many variables to consider, and they vary by state

That’s why it makes more sense to let an algorithm comprehend and codify ever-changing leave laws, so nobody has to undertake this expertise in the spare time they don’t have. SaaS tools like Cocoon can also provide more complete and accurate payroll calculations so HR leaders don’t have to. By making the paperwork filing process clear and flagging benefits leave-takers are eligible for that they might have passed over, this not only keeps everyone compliant, but also helps companies save an average of about $10,000 per leave taker. Best of all, as your company grows and changes, tools like Cocoon scale with you so you can continue to offer competitive and well-run leave policies backed by an excellent employee experience in planning it.

Explore the modern era of leave

Explore the modern era of leave

See how Cocoon's technology is transforming employee leave

Proactively plan a leave before you take it

“One person going on medical leave told me ‘I’m just not going to do the disability, forget it.’ If someone is forgoing that money, then you know there’s a huge problem.”OODA HR
“I told my boss and my HR partner that my son was in the hospital. They said all the right things… yet a few days later, I got an email from HR letting me know that my paycheck had been paused, and I was apparently now on unpaid leave. This came as a total shock and added extreme stress to my already impossible situation.” — Product marketing leader

Even if your company has great policies for medical, parental, caregiver, and/or compassionate leaves, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. A leave-taker still has to figure out their budget, timeline, and what the steps to achieving them are—all while preparing to face the situation prompting their leave. To do so, leave-takers are often stuck with outdated information on janky .gov pages, calling 1-800 numbers to talk to a leave management rep, waiting for or sending out mailed documents, or simply trying to piece it together themselves in a spreadsheet at 2am. It leaves them feeling burnt out, intimidated, and not confident when they finally convey their leave to HR and their manager. 

This is again where a SaaS platform for leave management is revolutionary, as it is interactive and responds to different inputs and variables in real time with no extra calculations on the end-user’s part. That means employees can use something like Cocoon’s Leave Options Explorer to map out different timelines, see what benefits they qualify for, and how those interact with their state and company policies. SaaS leave management systems also make it much easier to then share these plans with other stakeholders, like managers and HR, so everybody feels confident about what next steps are, how to carry them out, and seeing them all together in one place. Giving employees access to this information puts the power back in their hands to share when they’re ready, and empowers them with the knowledge they need to make such an important decision.

Be the progressive People team you aspire to be

Even when achieved successfully, the way most companies manage employee leave is not up to today’s standards. It costs us time, money, and relationships in moments of life where we need to support and be supported. Infusing leave management with powerful technology and great design will empower people and People teams to make the right decisions quickly in the face of unforeseen scenarios or big life changes—which is a huge life change unto itself — the digital and real-world transformation we are in desperate need of.

It's time to enter the next generation of employee leave