The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division has recently updated its standard forms. These forms can be utilized by employers when an employee requests leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
The DOL updated these forms in order to streamline the process by reducing the time required for completion. The forms, which can now be completed electronically, can be found here.
The DOL did not make substantive changes to the information collected. Instead, these revisions are intended to make the FMLA forms easier to understand for employers, leave administrators, health care providers, and employees seeking leave. Key changes to the forms include:
- An electronic signature in order to reduce contact
- Reorganization of the medical certification
- Replacement of certain open-ended questions with boxes to “check”
- Additional guidance on the substitution of paid leave and concurrent leave
- New details regarding circumstances allowing for follow-up inquiries to healthcare providers
Along with the release of the new forms, a Q&A section was added to the website. In this section, the DOL clarifies that employers are not required to use the new forms, but are encouraged to in order to guarantee compliance with all FMLA requirements. An employer may use its own forms, provided that the forms do not go beyond the scope of information needed to process the request for leave. Further, the DOL explains that employees taking leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) have different documentation requirements, so the FMLA forms are not applicable to the FFCRA.
In addition to the improved forms, the DOL published a request for information on July 17, 2020, seeking public evaluation of the regulations implementing the FMLA. Written comments can be submitted electronically or by mail. Public input will be accepted until September 15, 2020.