The policy I have chosen to analyze is a policy on disability benefits. The policy is for Conemaugh Health System and has the title of “Short Term Disability Benefits Program.” I found this policy by going to my organization’s intranet site and clicking on a link for policies. Then I just had to search for disability policies. The short-term disability (STD) benefits program is for employees unable to work due to their own illness (including pregnancy-related conditions) or injury.
The STD program is provided for both full-time and part-time status employees for up to ninety days. The STD program, in conjunction with the Long Term Disability Program, is designed to assist full-time status employees by providing a source of income during an extended illness (including pregnancy-related conditions) or injury. This policy was created in July 2005 and has been reviewed three times since December 2006, November 2009, and May 2013. The next review date is May 2019. (Becker, 2013).
The people impacted by the “Short-Term Disability Benefits Program” are full-time and part-time status employees within the Conemaugh Health System. Hourly and temporary status employees and contract personnel are not eligible. This means that anyone working the Conemaugh Health System who is full-time and part-time is impacted by the STD. This usually affects women who are going on maternity leave since women can take up to six weeks of STD when on maternity leave. Women can choose to stay home for an additional six weeks, but STD does not pay that employee for that time off. Another way that STD is usually used is for someone who is injured and needs time to heal or needs surgery. Everyone who uses STD does need to be cleared through employee health before coming back to work. (Becker, 2013).
The strength of the “Short Term Disability Benefits Program” policy is that this allows full-time and part-time staff within the Conemaugh Health System to view a written document on what exactly the STD covers. Having a policy on something that employees may get confused about helps provide guidance to employees. A policy also creates consistent decision-making because management can look up a policy and give the same answer to anyone who has questions about STDs. Finally, this policy provides an additional advantage by defining the rules and procedures that apply to all full-time and part-time employees (Power, 2017).
The limitation of this policy is that it limits flexibility. This policy is intended to help the administration answer questions about STDs in uncertain situations, but it may seem to limit flexibility since every employee gets the same answer no matter the circumstances. Employees also typically take administration “coldly” when they say, “that’s what our policy says,” or “our policy doesn’t allow us to do that.” Administration can get so focused on the business side of the hospital that they forget to take into account every employee’s situation. (Kokemuller, n.d.).
The policy can be improved by possibly making a few updates in the near future. This policy mentions the Catastrophic Illness Bank (CAT) account, which is being phased out of the Conemaugh Health System. The only employees who still have this are the employees who have been with Conemaugh Health System since it opened, and I am not sure of any employees that I have talked to who have the CAT account anymore. Human Resources might want to look at this part of the policy when updating in May 2019.
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