Absence Management RFP
In fiscal year 2011, the Cook County employees logged an average of more than six sick hours per employee per month, while the Department of Labor benchmark for a unionized workforce is 3.6 hours per employee per month. Currently, more than 80% of the county budget goes to pay the wages and benefits to county personnel. Managing and eventually reducing employee absence is critical to achieving county performance goals, treating workers fairly, increasing productivity, and ensuring compliance with state and federal laws. Absence Management refers to the policies, processes and tools used to manage all forms of employee absence from the workplace, including sick time, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Worker’s Compensation and Ordinary Disability leave. Monitoring absence levels is a key indicator in the Cook County Board President’s Setting Targets Achieve Results (STAR) performance management program.
In response to absence management concerns countywide, the President’s Office launched an overtime and FMLA taskforce in spring 2011 with assistance from Civic Consulting Alliance. The task force included members from CCHHS, the Sheriff’s Office, Forest Preserve, Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and the Clerk of the Court who collaborated with subject matter experts from Civic Consulting Alliance to identify issues, potential solutions and best practices to better manage sick time, FMLA leave, ordinary disability and workers' compensation. Through this initiative and using data collected from STAR, the task force determined that in the long term a holistic approach leveraging the absence management administrative expertise of an external provider was the best course of action. An RFP was developed and issued for a full scope of absence management services.
In conjunction with the absence management RFP, Civic Consulting Alliance worked with the Bureau of Human Resources to design an internal pilot program to help managers identify absence profiles of their employees and instruct them on how to take proactive measures to reign in misuse and abuse. The program provides supervisors with a series of reports containing current information on employee absences, along with target goals that improve on or surpass performance from previous years. The pilot ran for three months and the reports and processes will be extended to all of the Offices Under the President. The combined effort will help empower managers and supervisors at Cook County to work with their employees to increase productivity and provide better service to the taxpayers of Cook County.