On July 16, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a revised set of model forms employers can use for leaves that employees take pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These updated model forms are part of the DOL’s years-long process of improving and simplifying the FMLA process for all involved.
The revised forms include:
WH-380-E (Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition), WH-380-F (Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition), WH-384 (Certification for Military Family Leave for Qualifying Exigency) and WH-385 (Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Current Service member for Military Caregiver Leave);
WH-381 – Notice of Eligibility Form, which now, among other things, identifies the employee’s hours of employment that are being counted towards the 1,250-hour minimum service requirement, and provides employees more detailed information on use of paid time off during FMLA leave; and
WH-382 – Designation Form, which now also provides more detailed information on use of paid time off during FMLA leave.
The new forms are each available on the DOL's website HERE.
Overall, the revised forms provide more information on employees’ rights and obligations under the FMLA than previous versions. Perhaps most notably, the updated forms are generally easier to read and prepared in a way that should enable employees’ health care providers to provide the required information more efficiently and clearly. For example, the new Form WH-380-F specifically asks the health care professional to check a box regarding what type of “care” is necessary. Additionally, the forms support electronic completion and signature.
The DOL has also published in the Federal Register a request for information requesting input on the FMLA’s regulations from employers and employees. The request for information does not seek comment on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which temporarily amended the FMLA until December 31, 2020. Written comments on the regulations can be submitted electronically or by mail by September 15, 2020.
Though these forms are optional, employers are encouraged to use them in order to be confidently compliant with federal law. This update provides employers with a crucial opportunity to review their FMLA procedures with legal counsel to ensure full FMLA compliance.