Short Term Absence Solution

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Improving the health of working Canadians is the heart of our program

Health events occur in different ways - we help you, and your employees, through them. We offer a comprehensive case management approach to absence and disability management. From early intervention tools, to return to work support, our experienced case managers focus on collaborative case management, effective use of resources and optimizing treatment to deliver the best possible outcomes for you and your employees.

We identify and work through the medical and non-medical factors affecting your employee’s recovery.  We leverage technology that helps us predict when and how long your employees will go on disability and to target appropriate internal case management strategies. We set goals for employees to maintain contact to stay on top of health changes that affect or prolong absence. All of which helps us provide you with timely updates to manage your business better.

The breadth and depth of our disability organization is unparalleled with over 1200 dedicated team members spread across eight offices, coast to coast. As one of the top three providers of disability management solutions in Canada, we have the tools and talent to help optimize your organization’s short-term absence approach. Our vast experience with organizations of all shapes and sizes is behind us – helping us find the best solution for you and your employees. 

Overview of our solution

Choices to suit your needs

With Short Term Absence solutions, we consistently apply our case management philosophy within the framework that suits the needs of your organization.  All financial arrangements are available to suit your unique requirements. 

Your options include:


A traditional offering based on monthly premiums for the greatest peace of mind. Benefit payments are issued to your employees from Manulife.

Administrative Services Only (ASO)

A self-insured offering for peace of mind that your employees absences are well managed, payments are issued, but you have greater control on claim costs and final decisions.

Salary continuance

Whether all cases are included or just a select few, this self-insured fee-for-service program offers a fully outsourced model of claims management, while retaining both payment and control of expenses.

Early intervention stay at work services

Stay at work services provides guidance with intermittent absences, workplace accommodation requests, physical demands analysis, or ergonomic assessments. This fee-for-service program can overlap an existing product.

Expert case management

Our experienced case management teams are supported by an extensive network of Rehabilitation Specialists, Mental Health Experts, Work Facilitation Specialists and a broad Medical Consultant network.

Manulife’s tools and partnerships ensure case managers achieve the best possible health outcomes:

  • Independent medical examinations with carefully selected specialists. 
  • Second opinion services to help validate treatment direction.  
  • Functional Capacity Evaluations to support successful return to work.
  • Virtual healthcare options, including condition-specific medical management.
  • Virtual assessment and digital Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for mental health conditions.
  • Robust Physical Activation Program partnerships.
  • Thorough cognitive assessments and return to work focused treatment.

If you have a self-insured program, don’t worry – you have access to our case management tools by partnering with us.  

The power of combining benefits

Here’s another advantage – where your group benefits plan with us includes Extended Health and Pharmacy benefits, we have an opportunity to access the treatment data of your employees to optimize health outcomes.   

Our focus on effective use of data to optimize employee health includes:

  • Drug interaction risk reviews that promote better outcome opportunities for employees.
  • Identification and education on available paramedical resources such as pharmacogenetics, physiotherapy, psychotherapy and other condition-specific programs.
  • Opportunity to connect aggregate portfolio data to offer a fuller picture of trends affecting your overall organization. 

Key features

Outcome focused management

We are purposeful in our approach with targeted medical collection and communication of specific goals and milestones. Our engagement with healthcare providers, employees and sponsors focuses on positive outcomes and managed solutions. We support you and your employees every step of the way. 

Clear communications

Direct and automated communications are key to managing healthy outcomes. Timely updates outline important decisions to assess progress and potential return to work opportunities.

Focus on mental health

Mental health concerns are one of the top reasons members go on disability – that’s why we promote a strong focus on supporting mental health from prevention and early intervention through to recovery and successful return to work.


How our approach can help your organization

Our goal is to help instill a positive mindset around absence in your organization – one that promotes wellness, recovery and return to work. Our comprehensive approach to short term absence management helps you get the best value from your plan dollars. Here’s some of the ways how:

  • Greater certainty around absence and people management
    Your employees are your most valuable assets and drive your success. When employees are absent from work, you need to know how long such absences will take, or, whether accommodations would be appropriate. We provide important and timely status updates and available reporting to provide meaningful insights into what’s happening with absences in your organization. This viewpoint is essential to understand and maintain the productivity of your workplace. 
  • Better understand and manage performance in your workplace
    Did you know that presenteeism related to stress is estimated to cost Canadian organizations 15 times more than absenteeism? With an integration of health and wellness services and available early intervention stay at work support program, we help you avoid this risk to your organization. All of which helps you better understand and manage your high performing team – helping keep more employees heathy, productive and at work.
  • Access to leading edge tools and health management partners.
    Having the right tools and support in place can mean better health outcomes for your employees. The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving and finding the right solutions can be confusing and time consuming. We carefully curate and invest in the right solutions and partners from our very own in-house rehabilitation program to virtual healthcare and second opinion services. This helps ensure your employees have the right tools and support necessary for recovery and successful return to work.


Facts about short term absence in Canada

  • Improved disability management is on the top four wish list of health benefit enhancements for plan sponsors.1
  • 68% of employers have a formal absence and disability management strategy in place.2
  • 68% of employers report that absence and disability management is integrated into their overall health management strategy.2
  • 80% of sponsors would like to better understand the rates and causes of absenteeism if their organization.1
  • Over half of sponsors are concerned about employees moving into Long Term Disability.1
  • 1 in 5 Canadian adults have had one or more disabilities that has limited their daily activities.3
  • Mental health and musculoskeletal issues and illnesses are the top two reasons employees go on short term disability.2
  • Organizations without a short-term disability plan experience twice the paid sick leave costs as those with a plan.4
  • 63% of employers offer stay-at-work programs for their employees.2

  1. The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 2019
  2. Absence and Disability Management: Trends in Organizational Health Management, The Conference Board of Canada, 2018
  3. Canadian Survey on Disability, Stats Canada, 2017
  4. Benefits Benchmarking 2019: Innovation and Flexibility Lead the Way, M.Haberl and N.Stewart, The Conference Board of Canada, 2019

Get started

Speak to your Manulife representative to discuss group benefit plan options to help meet your business needs.