FMLA Forms Extended Through August 2021

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. August 31, 2018
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​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) certification forms and notices are valid for three more years, until Aug. 31, 2021. DOL didn't make any substantive changes to the forms, other than to announce the new expiration date, notes Epstein Becker Green.

These certifications and notices are:

We've gathered articles from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets on the forms.

Use of Forms Isn't Mandatory

Employers don't have to use these forms, though they often do. Monica Velazquez, an attorney with Clark Hill in Collin County, Texas, prefers customized forms so that employers aren't handing workers documents with the DOL logo. The logo makes the forms look more official than they are, she said. Copy and paste the information from the DOL form into the employer's own form, she recommended.

If the employer plans to use its own forms, use plain English and bullet points, she said. "Keep things as direct as possible."

Steve Bernstein, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Tampa, Fla., cautioned that an employer can be held liable for using a form that harms the employee by misleading him or her about FMLA rights, and recommended that any changes be reviewed by an outside expert to ensure that added language does not inadvertently conflict with the FMLA.
(SHRM Online)

Medical Certification Form's Purpose

The DOL's medical certification form for employees or a custom-tailored form can help answer whether an employee's request for medical leave is a serious health condition covered by the FMLA. Under the FMLA, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care—defined as an overnight stay in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility; any overnight admission to such facilities is an automatic trigger for FMLA eligibility—or continuing treatment by a health care provider.
(SHRM HR Q&A)

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Family and Medical Leave]

Forms Approved for Maximum Period

The DOL must submit its FMLA forms to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval every three years. OMB review is required to ensure the FMLA certification and notice process isn't too bureaucratic.
(FMLA Insights)

Ensure Certifications Are Complete

Complete and authentic FMLA medical certifications are essential to prevent abuse of intermittent FMLA leave. HR must know who can provide the certifications and what should be in the documentation. Doctors aren't the only health care providers who may certify FMLA leave. Podiatrists, dentists, clinical psychologists, optometrists and chiropractors can all certify leave, as can nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers and physician assistants. Each of these providers must be licensed to practice in the state. Christian Science practitioners listed with the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston may certify FMLA time off as well.
(SHRM Online)

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