US employee leave requests increased by up to 40% in 2022

employee leaveEmployee leave requests increased by between 21% and 40% in 2022 compared with the previous year, according to research by AbsenceSoft.

The 2023 Employee leave of absence forecast survey surveyed 600 US corporate and HR leaders with responsibility for the employee experience, HR policies, and HR technology purchase decisions.

Respondents said that in 2023, they expect the request percentage to increase by 41% to 60%. The top three drivers were sickness-related requests, burnout and mental health, and caring for a loved one.

The majority of employers had added, or were considering adding, increased paid time off as a benefit, with many planning to offer this added vacation time or mental health days, sabbaticals and other paid leave options. Indeed, 70% had added or were considering adding parental leave in 2023.

Despite the rise in leave requests, 44% of respondents admitted that their organisation was only somewhat effective, or not at all effective, at managing employee absences.

More than half (55%) cited employee health and wellbeing, along with mental health, as one of the biggest workforce challenges over the past 12 months, followed by retaining employees and recruiting talent and managing staff in flexible working environments.

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Mark Schiff, chief executive officer at AbsenceSoft, said: “Paid employee leave is being encouraged more than ever to allow employees to better care for themselves and their loved ones. This has a direct impact on employee retention and engagement.”

Seth Turner, co-founder and chief strategy officer at AbsenceSoft, added: “Many HR teams are overwhelmed by compliance, with federal and state laws around leave, and the overall administration of employee leaves and accommodations.”