Department of Labor Issues New FMLA Forms
July 17 , 2020, the DOL issued new model notice and forms that can be used for traditional FMLA leave. Note: These new documents do not apply to leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
On balance, we believe that the new models forms include changes that will result in less confusion and elicit clearer information from health care providers. They can be found at this link — https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/forms. Examples of some of the highlights are:
- The Notice of Eligibility more clearly outlines employee rights and responsibilities, requires the employee to specifically identify which family member the employee will care for and provides a less confusing explanation of how accrued paid leave runs concurrently with FMLA.
- The Designation Notice states that employers are obligated to designate FMLA when leave is covered (to avoid employees who want to “opt out” of FMLA leave) and clearly outlines what steps an employee should take to cure an incomplete or insufficient certification.
- The Medical Certification form makes clear that certification is not required for leave to bond with a newly born or newly adopted child, requires a best estimate of future treatment and requires the provider to specifically identify the applicable type of serious health condition or state that none apply.
Because the DOL has clarified that the old model forms remain acceptable, employers are not required to use the new forms. If they chose to use the new forms, they can begin doing so immediately or transition to them over time. We do recommend that employers consistently use the same forms, either new or old, for all locations and for all employees.
Along with the new notice and forms, the DOL also published a “Request for Information” asking employers and employees to provide feedback on potential changes to the FMLA regulations. Those comments are due to the DOL by September 16, 2020. Whether they are likely to result in revised regulations is not entirely clear, particularly given the upcoming election.
Our FMLA/ADA Solutions practice group is ready to answer any questions you have regarding the new notice and forms, as well as other FMLA concerns.