National Business Group on Health Launches Major Initiative to Address Workplace Leave Challenges

Nearly 50 U.S. Employers and Industry Partners Are Engaged in the Leave Optimization Forum

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  The National Business Group on Health, in collaboration with dozens of large U.S. employers, today announced the launch of the “Leave Optimization Forum,” a major initiative to help employers enhance leave management programs to better meet the needs of a diverse and changing workforce.

The Leave Optimization Forum convenes nearly 50 leading companies, industry partners and subject matter experts on employee leave. Members include Amazon, Aon, Cigna, Darden, Dell, Facebook, General Electric Company, General Mills, PepsiCo, Prudential, Unum and Willis Towers Watson.  Ophelia Galindo, Global Director, Leave of Absence, Disability & Accommodation at Amazon, serves as Forum chair.

Together with the National Business Group on Health, the Forum aims to develop a shared understanding of “what’s working and not working” for large employers, taking a holistic view of leave by identifying best practices and common challenges, frustrations and gaps in solutions. The Forum also plans to create consensus around the gaps, set priorities and seek solutions in the marketplace and policy arena.

Leave management is a broad category, encompassing paid leave such as paid time off (PTO), vacation or sick leave; disability and absence programs like short-term disability; and other types of leave including paid and unpaid parental, caregiving and bereavement leave.

“By bringing experts together, the Forum aims to share the challenges and opportunities around leave and absence management policies and their intersection with health, well-being and productivity,” said LuAnn Heinen, vice president of Well-being & Workforce Strategy at the National Business Group on Health.

The Forum’s goal is to identify and share strategies and solutions that employers can leverage when designing and evaluating their leave programs including:

  • New approaches to stay at work and return to work
  • Model approaches and products for trending leave topics including parental and family leave policies
  • Tools to navigate current mandated paid sick and family leave requirements
  • Potential game-changing technology including shift swapping apps and return to work engagement platforms
  • Intersection of leave and behavioral health
  • Employer case studies highlighting integrated approaches to leave and absence management

“With the rising cost of managing employee time away and growing regulatory and compliance burden, the launch of the Forum is coming at an ideal time. Employers must design and consistently administer programs that align with their business priorities and regulatory requirements across a wide range of job categories and work locations,” said Heinen.

About the National Business Group on Health®

The National Business Group on Health is the nation’s only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspective on national health policy issues and helping companies optimize business performance through health improvement, innovation and health care management. The Business Group leads initiatives to address the most relevant health care issues facing employers today and enables human resource and benefit leaders to learn, share and leverage best practices from the most progressive companies. Business Group members, which include 74 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit

Contact:  Ed Emerman
609 275 5162