On September 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division rolled out “updated” FMLA compliance forms and, despite containing no substantive changes, if your company uses the model FMLA forms, these new forms should be utilized starting now. The forms for Notice of Eligibility, Designation, and Certifications for the various covered Serious Health Conditions are available at this link on the DOL’s website. You have the new FMLA forms if the “expires” date in the upper right-hand corner reads “8/31/2021.” Do not be distracted by the “revised” date at the bottom of the page; the 2015, 2013 and even 2009 dates simply reflect that the content of the FMLA forms has not changed in quite some time.
Just like re-reading a professor’s course syllabus at the start of the fall semester, I strongly encourage you to take a moment to re-read the FMLA Notice and Certification forms as a refresher of the steps and information employers can require to certify a valid FMLA leave for a serious health condition. The DOL forms carefully spell out the steps of the FMLA process to protect both employee and employer rights.
Employers can, of course, continue to use their own FMLA notice and certification forms. But, be careful not to ask employees to provide any more information than allowed under the FMLA regulations. In other words, the safest route is using the FMLA form as issued by the DOL. If you have employees in a state with its own mini-FMLA, like California or Minnesota, then state laws required you to modify the federal FMLA form if you choose to use it for all FMLA purposes. Before automatically deploying these new federal FMLA forms, be sure to re-incorporate the modifications you previously made to comply with state law.
Good luck to all in the coming semester and please feel free to call a Cozen O’Connor attorney for any tutoring assistance.