UnumProvident has published an interesting paper, “Reducing Lost Time: The Correlation Between Family-Medical Leave and Short-Term Disability.” The paper describes the insurer’s 2005 study of “the various connections between lost time and the benefits that are paid to an individual during an absence.” The study included lost time data over a two year period from more than 144,000 employees and six companies.

From the paper:

The significant relationship between FMLA leaves and disability claims comes as no surprise to those who have administered FMLA, as they have intuitively observed the “co-morbid” nature of FMLA leaves running concurrent with extended medical lost time. An interesting discovery, however, was the close relationship between a family leave event in which the employee is in a caregiving role for a family member’s serious health condition and the employee’s subsequent filing of a short-term disability claim. This illustrates a relationship between FMLA and short-term disability that seemingly supports the impact of caregiver stress.

The paper goes on to describe various policy factors and workplace planning opportunities. In general, the study concludes that an integrated leave management approach–as compared to only a disability leave approach–results in lower corporate claim costs and more congruence between the benefits of the employer and the needs of the employees.