Factors to Consider in Choosing a Vendor

By Diane Cadrain Jul 1, 2010
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0710cover.gifHR professionals like to see the following qualities in an administrator for the Family and Medical Leave Act:

  • Experience managing leave.
  • Full integration of federal and state laws and company leave policies.
  • Ability to integrate short-term and long-term disability and workers’ compensation.
  • Expertise with the intake process, including a world-class call center with a highly trained professional staff that is available at the times they’re needed.
  • Ongoing training for the administrator’s employees to keep them abreast of legal developments.
  • In-house medical expertise.

Look for a provider with robust analytics and a robust reporting system, says Fiona Mohring, a benefits project manager with toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker. “On the analytics end, see how the system tags potential abusers. On the reporting end, make sure your HR people have access to leave information.

“You have to go behind the hype and see how systems really work,” she adds. Before deciding on Aetna as the company’s administrator, she used references provided by the vendor: two companies that had canceled contracts with Aetna and two still using Aetna. She also got a system demo.

She narrowed the field to three finalists. “We chose Aetna,” she recalls, “because of the vigor of its system.”

Linda Fonteneaux, Nokia’s benefits manager for North America, advises HR professionals to look at their own internal capacities before deciding how much to hand off to a third party.

Otherwise, you may be “bombarded with vendors who can provide end-to-end services, and that may not be the direction you intend,” she says.

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