As soon as you're aware of your employee's absence, manager-employee contact should begin, and it should continue throughout the employee's absence. It’s not unusual for a manager to feel anxious or fearful about making the first call to the employee. Generally, the sooner you speak to the employee, the easier it will be.
Express your genuine concern for your employee's well-being, but do not discuss his/her specific diagnosis. If the employee volunteers the reason for his/her absence, you should keep this information confidential. Here are some sample questions for your initial conversation with the employee:
If the absence is nonwork-related and the employee anticipates an absence of more than the number of days of the disability elimination period, instruct him/her to report the disability claim to NYL GBS.
This initial conversation may also be an opportune time to address family medical leave with the employee, depending on your company's procedures for FMLA leave. Contact your Human Resources Department for guidance, or refer to your company's FMLA policies.
Set up a schedule for regular contact (calls) with the employee during the remainder of his/her absence. Let the employee know how frequently you'll call, and follow through on your promise. It’s important for employees to feel that their communication needs are met and for them to be satisfied with how they are treated by their employers during disability absences.
You may want to suggest Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counseling to the employee if your company offers it. An EAP counselor can be a resource for the employee and members of the employee's household to help deal with disability.
A disability claim can be submitted to NYL GBS by calling the Intake Center at 800-362-4462 or filing an online claim at any time—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For telephone claims intake, our hours of operation are 7 a.m.–7 p.m. CT, Monday–Friday.
Note: Not all customers use the same claims forms. Please check with your HR Department to make sure that you are using the appropriate form.
The employee or family member should have the following information handy when completing claims forms online:
It is your responsibility as the manager to tell the employee's coworkers that the employee is absent. You may choose to tell the employee's coworkers individually, but it may be preferable and more efficient to do it in a group. That way, everyone hears the same message at the same time, which minimizes confusion.
If the anticipated duration of the absence is known, you should share this information, especially if there needs to be a redistribution of the absent employee's workload.
It is common for coworkers to express concern and be inquisitive about the reason for the employee's absence.
Personal or medical information is confidential, and even if the employee has chosen to share the reason for his/her absence with you, you should not discuss it with the employee's coworkers. It is also common for coworkers to be concerned about how this absence will affect their own schedules and workloads.
Here are some ideas for how you can manage the discussion:
"________ has called out from work and will be out on leave of absence for a while (or number of weeks if known). I do not know/I am not at liberty to discuss the reason for his/her absence. We need to discuss how we will manage the workload during __________'s absence..."
The disability claim manager will encourage the employee to make frequent contact with his or her manager. If the employee does not call you, you should initiate contact as the absent employee's manager.
Here is a sample script for that conversation:
"Hello ______, I'm just calling to check in and see how you’re doing. We miss you here at work. I also wanted to update you on what is happening in the office ..." "Do you have an idea of when you might be returning to work?"
Remember not to discuss the specifics of the employee's medical condition. Refer any questions from the employee about the status of the claim or disability benefit payment to the disability claim manager.
You can also confirm the expected return-to-work (RTW) date with the claim manager, either by phone or email.
This material and page are not intended for use by residents of New Mexico.
New York Life Group Benefit Solutions products and services are provided by Life Insurance Company of North America and New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY, subsidiaries of New York Life Insurance Company.