Successful management of FMLA is very much about careful attention to forms and schedules. In today’s Advisor, Caraway offers tips for getting it right.
Caraway is a member of Miller & Martin PLLC in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her remarks came at BLR’s Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Nashville.
Some FMLA conversations can be oral, but most need to be documented. For example, Caraway says, If an employee asks, “Am I eligible for FMLA leave?” you can respond orally; but if the person requests leave, you respond with documentation.
You may request, as appropriate:
You will also use the following forms:
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Who can complete an FMLA medical Certification form? It’s a long list, says Caraway. First, doctors of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery by the state in which the doctor practices and the following state-licensed professionals:
You can push back if forms are incomplete or unclear, Caraway says. Generally, do not accept “unknowns,” she adds. (Duration and frequency “unknown.”) If you accept “unknowns,” and especially if you accept them because you do not want to bother the employee or the doctor, then you’re at fault when things spin out of control.
Remember, says Caraway, the regulations do clearly put the onus on the employee to provide a complete and clear form. If the employee doesn’t do that, you may deny leave.
Also check the form for internal consistency and be sure that an authorized person signed the form.
You can contact the health care provider directly as long as:
Remember, warns Caraway, this point in the FMLA proceedings is your first and last chance to use second and third opinions for 12 months.
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You can also push back, says Caraway, if the provider and the condition don’t match. For example, if the OB-GYN is certifying migraines or the podiatrist is certifying depression.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, more tips on managing FMLA, plus an introduction to the guide they’re calling “The FMLA Bible.”
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