July 31, 2020

Department of Labor Provides Updated Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has released new forms for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new forms are intended to reduce the time users spend providing information, improve communications between leave applicants and administrators, and reduce the likelihood of violations.

The new forms continue to collect the same data, but certain sections have been enhanced or expanded to provide additional detail. Some of the enhancements include:

  • Certification of Healthcare Provider for a Serious Health Condition – the revised form includes additional space for employers/leave administrators to indicate the due date of the medical certification form (15 calendar days from the request date).
  • Certification of Healthcare Provider for a Serious Health Condition – this section now includes a reminder that employers “may not request a certification for FMLA leave to bond with a healthy newborn child or a child placed for adoption or foster care.” This applies to both men and women. 
  • Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities – Section I “Notice of Eligibility” has been expanded to allow employers/leave administrators to provide the specific number of service hours and/or service months that the employee has worked if they do not meet the eligibility requirements (12 months and 1,250 hours of service). 
  •  Designation Notice – this section now contains an expanded explanation describing how an employer’s paid leave runs concurrently with FMLA.
Updated forms are available on the DOL’s website for immediate use. Employers who elect to use the new forms cannot require employees on a current, approved leave to re-certify using the new forms. Employers may use their own forms if they provide the same basic notice information and require only the same basic certification information.

The new forms only apply to FMLA, they do not apply to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Additional information related to the documentation required for leave associated with FFCRA can be found at: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions .   
Additionally, on July 17, 2020, the DOL also published a request for information with the Federal Register   asking for feedback from employers, employees and other members of the public on their challenges with FMLA administration and recommendations for best practices. Interested members of the public have 60 days to submit comments by visiting  www.regulations.gov .

Sources: US Department of Labor, “U.S. Department of Labor Announces Enhancements to Assist Employees, Employers and Other Stakeholders in Use of Family and Medical Leave” SHRM, “DOL Updates FMLA Forms and Seeks Input on Making Improvements”

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