AbsenceSoft’s 2023 Employee Leave of Absence Forecast Survey Results

January 17, 2023

AbsenceSoft recently surveyed over 600 corporate and HR leaders to learn about the state of leave management at their organizations, and challenges they are facing going into the new year. The key findings in AbsenceSoft’s 2023 Employee Leave of Absence Forecast Survey clearly reflect the impact the pandemic continues to have on workplaces, as well as the ongoing trend of employers offering more and different types of leave to attract and retain workers in a tight labor market.

Note: We’ve created a downloadable, one-page infographic that includes all the key findings and trends below.

#1. Leave of absence requests continue to increase dramatically

Nearly all of the survey respondents said employee leave requests are on the rise. In 2022, there was a 21-40% increase in leave requests from the previous year. In 2023, respondents expect that percentage to increase by another 41-60%. For some organizations, that could mean that leave managers might have to manage twice as many leave requests in 2023 than they did in 2021.

What is driving the increase in leave requests? Our forecast survey found that the top reason for taking leave were sick-related requests. The second most common was for burnout and other mental wellness reasons. Using FMLA to care for a loved one was the third most common reason.

#2. Leave as a benefit becomes even more popular, adding complexity to leave management

Employees everywhere will likely be getting more paid leave in 2023. Our survey found that employers have overwhelmingly added, or are considering adding additional paid time off as a benefit. The most popular type of leave to offer was parental leave—about 70% of respondents had either recently been added or will be adding it in 2023. Other popular types of leave being added included more vacation time (50%), mental health days (48%), and even company-sanctioned sabbaticals (23%).

“What started as a pandemic perk is now becoming a necessary benefit for employees, just like health insurance and 401ks. Paid employee leave is being encouraged more than ever to allow employees to better care for themselves and their loved ones. This has a direct impact on employee retention and engagement”
Mark Schiff, Chief Executive Officer, AbsenceSoft

#3. Effectively managing leave remains a challenge

Managing this uptick in new leave options and employee leave requests poses a big challenge for organizations we surveyed. About 44% of corporate and HR leaders say their organization is only somewhat effective or not at all effective at managing employee absences. More than quarter, 28%, said that they still use sticky notes, spreadsheets, and calendar reminders to manage employee leave.

Nearly half of respondents said their biggest struggles with leave management are calculating employee eligibility, as well as ensuring compliance with Federal laws, State laws, and company policies.

“Many HR teams are overwhelmed by compliance policies, Federal and State laws around leave, and the overall administration of employee leaves and accommodations. In fact, many organizations remain unprepared to handle the consequences of mismanaging leaves, which can include legal action against employers.”
Seth Turner, AbsenceSoft Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer


The continued rise of employee leave requests, combined with employers offering more and different kinds of leave, all adds up to a lot more work and complexity for HR. Purpose-built leave management software like AbsenceSoft can be a big help for overburdened leave managers facing a more challenging year than they have likely ever faced before.

It’s no surprise, then, that our survey found that in the next five years, corporate and HR leaders say they plan to prioritize leave and accommodation management software like AbsenceSoft as part of their tech stack, ranking this type of software as their number one priority.

“Having a software solution that can automate the ‘administrivia’ of leave and accommodation management can alleviate these pain points, increase accuracy in the entire leave process, ensure compliance and ultimately, let HR focus on what matters most: the employee.”
Seth Turner, AbsenceSoft Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer

To learn how AbsenceSoft can help you take the complexity out of leave management, schedule a demo today.

AbsenceSoft conducted the 2023 Employee Leave of Absence Forecast Survey of 600 corporate and HR leaders who have overall responsibility for the employee experience, HR policies, and HR technology purchase decisions in organizations of more than 500 employees. The survey was conducted in late 2022, and you can download the full results.