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99 Cents Gets Success with LOA Automation


99 Cents Only Stores automates leave of absence processes for 17,000 employees across multiple states

Leave of Absence Capabilities Now Utilized By Major Retailer


  • Handle heavy leave request volume
  • Inconsistent LOA practices between different locations
  • Unclear procedures for requesting and approving leaves
  • 9+ Hours spent on each LOA during its lifecycle

  • Fully redesigned LOA workflows, compliant with local, state, and federal requirements
  • Standardized LOA processes across all locations
  • Easy self-serve LOA requests for employees
  • Real-time data and alerts, ensuring tasks are completed on time
  • Empowered Employees through Self Service




99 Cents Only Stores is a premier deep-discount retailer with over 375 stores and 17,000 employees in California, Nevada, Texas, and Arizona.


99 Cents Only Stores has grown rapidly in the past decade, and as it has expanded into new geographies, its Benefits team struggled to keep up. Leave of absence (LOA) policies were inconsistent from one location to another, creating frustration for employees and confusion for managers. But it didn’t end there. Beyond inefficiency and frustration, this lack of standardized LOA processes resulted in legal exposure for the retailer.

Committed to providing its employees with the best care possible, 99 Cents Only Stores knew it was time to redesign their leave processes from the ground up. Instead of outsourcing these HR functions, 99 Cents Only Stores needed an


Having redesigned its processes and created a wish list of features for a LOA platform, 99 Cents Only Stores began its search for the solution best suited for its needs. The retailer first looked to their existing HR software for LOA implementation, but the cost was too high and the flexibility too low. This provider had a one-size-fits-all approach that, in reality, wasn’t a fit for 99 Cents Only Stores. After surveying the market, the retailer eventually chose Pulpstream, a no-code HR automation platform that specializes in LOA automation.

Rather than needing to adapt to a new platform, Pulpstream adapted to the needs of 99 Cents Only Stores. Ari Sanchez, Director of HR, Benefits, and Payroll at 99 Cents Only Stores, said, “One of the biggest selling points for us was the system's flexibility. The fact that you can make it what you want and adapt it to your needs is critical. We were able to say, ‘this is our process, and we want it to flow similarly in the employee experience.’ Then, Pulpstream tailored the solution to our desires.”

This flexibility improved the employee experience when requesting leave. Employees taking a leave of absence are often going through difficult times, whether they’re taking care of a sick relative, going through a medical crisis themselves, or taking time off to grieve.

Therefore, avoiding creating excess stress with unclear and slow HR processes is critical. When an employee requests leave in Pulpstream, they are immediately notified the request has been received. If that employee provided the necessary documentation, the request is automatically approved, and the employee receives an email alerting them of this. If the employee does not upload the required documentation, they receive an email making them aware of their conditional approval, and the documentation they need to complete is attached to the email with clear instructions and a deadline.


After a three-month implementation, 99 Cents Only Stores said goodbye to the days of manual LOA processes riddled with compliance headaches and now enjoys an automated solution for its 17,000 employees. Compared to before, its automated solution is:

  • Faster - No longer does 99 Cents Only Stores need to maintain print and digital records, scanning them and keeping track of two systems. Now, the whole process is digitized, and the records are centralized. Plus, with automated emails and approvals, the Benefits team only spends a fraction of the time on each leave compared to its previous process.
  • Easier - With manual processes, employees struggled to understand what they needed to do to take LOA. Now, Pulpstream communicates with employees every step of the way, helping them take leave seamlessly.
  • Compliant - The exposure risks of manual processes were severe. Thanks to Pulpstream’s machine learning algorithms, it has compiled the sum of human LOA knowledge to offer leave recommendations that comply with local, state, federal, and employer-specific regulations every time.
  • Flexible - As 99 Cents Only Stores changes processes, Pulpstream can adapt with the retailer. In fact, it is now expanding to take advantage of Pulpstream’s incident management features too.

Reflecting on her experience using Pulpstream, Sanchez said, “We’ve been really impressed with the way the system works. The technology is top-notch, and the team is fantastic. Any time we’ve requested something, the answer has been yes. It seems like there’s never a ‘no,’ but always a ‘yes, we can do it’ or ‘yes, we’ll figure out how to make that happen.’ It’s definitely the best platform that I’ve used.”

Want to learn how you can have your own Pulpstream success story? Contact our team for a demo to see how Pulpstream can customize a digital solution for your company.

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