The ComPsych Corporation reports that Family and Medical Leave absences are on the rise, and that some industries – hospitality, call centers and government entities among them – are hit disproportionally by absenteeism. A new white paper from ComPysch’s FMLASource examines which sectors see the most FMLA absences, and hints at how damaging it can be.

Casinos have the largest percentage of employees on FMLA leave with 49% in a given year, FMLASource reports; they also rank the highest in intermittent leave (58%) and average duration of an intermittent leave (17 days).

The manufacturing sector reports largest percentage of leave that is continuous, with 76%, and the longest length of continuous leave per claim, at 31.4 days.

“While FMLA leave can be troublesome for any employer,” the white paper reads, “it is particularly disruptive for manufacturers, call centers and health care systems whose operations depend on fixed schedules.”

From 2008 to 2012, FMLASource reports, the average length of leave for health care employees jumped 27% to 28 days. Total FMLA time off for manufacturing companies increased 62% to 26.9 days.

Jim Brown, senior vice president of operations at ComPsych, says “there’s been significant changes leading to more utilization” and that employers “need to make sure they have a very solid program … looking for patterns and trends” to make sure leave isn’t abused.

“These are industries that have a significant amount of hourly employees, and they hold people accountable,” Brown says of why these sectors in particular were hit. “In the end, the employee is looking for protection, and the vast majority are doing it legitimately, but there will always be some trying to take advantage of the system.”

After casinos, “health care employers had the second highest rate of FMLA absences,” the paper says, “with 39% of their workforce. … By contrast, just 7% of professional services employees have an FMLA leave” within a year.

Asked the most difficult part of FMLA administration, Brown doesn’t hesitate: “It’s the intermittent leave,” he says. “A block of time is one thing, but when you’re tracking one day a month, two days a month and trying to fill in for that person, it greatly increases your workload.”

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