On July 16, 2020, the DOL issued new model FMLA notices and forms with a June 2020 revision date. The look of the notices and forms are somewhat different from previous versions but there are not a lot of substantive changes. The DOL also issued some FAQs in connection with the release of the updated forms explaining that the FMLA does not require the use of any specific form or format, and that even though the DOL revised the FMLA forms to make them easier to understand, the revised forms convey and collect the same information which can be provided in any format.
The DOL’s FAQs also address the following questions:
Can my employer require me to provide a new certification, using the revised form, when I have already provided the required FMLA information using the old certification form?
No. You can provide the required information contained on a certification form in any format. If you used the old certification forms to provide your employer with the required FMLA information, you do not have to provide your employer with the same FMLA information using the revised certification forms.
Can my employer make changes to the FMLA forms?
Your employer may use the WHD prototype forms or create their own version of the forms containing the same basic information. However, an employer that requests a medical certification may request only information that relates to the serious health condition for which the current need for leave exists, and no information may be required beyond that specified in the FMLA regulations. See 29 CFR 825.306, 29 CFR 825.307, and 29 CFR 825.308.
Do I have to use my employer’s certification forms?
Employers must accept a complete and sufficient certification, regardless of the format. The employer cannot reject a certification that contains all the information needed to determine if the leave is FMLA-qualifying. The employer cannot refuse:
- A fax or copy of the certification;
- A certification that is not completed on the employer’s standard company form; or
- Any other record of the medical documentation, such as a communication on the letterhead of the healthcare provider.
The expiration date of the DOL forms has passed, are they still effective?
Yes. The content of the information contained within the optional-use DOL form is still applicable, regardless of the expiration date. The expiration date on the DOL forms is related to the collection of information as required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and not relevant to the content of the required information.
Where do I send the completed certifications or notices?
Do not send any completed certifications or forms to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. The employer should provide the required notices to the employee seeking leave. Completed certification forms should be given to the employee to provide to the employer, as it is the employee’s responsibility to provide the employer with the completed certification.
For more information about the DOL’s updated FMLA notices and forms, or to obtain copies, go to: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/forms.
The Labor and Employment attorneys at Weintraub Tobin continue to wish you and your family good health during these challenging times. If we can assist you in any of your employment law needs, feel free to reach out to us.