HR Management & Compliance

Managing Medical Certifications Under FMLA: Return to Work

This article series covers managing medical certifications under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In the last installment we covered recertificaiton, here we’ll go over return-to-work (RTW) or fitness-for-duty (FFD) certifications.

RTW or FFD certifications address the question of whether an employee is able to resume work, given the health condition that caused him to take FMLA leave. Employers may require employees to provide an RTW before returning from leave if the following requirements are met:

  • The leave must have been taken for the employee’s own serious health condition.
  • You must have a uniformly applied policy or practice requiring all similarly situated employees to furnish an RTW certification.
  • The certification must seek information only with regard to the serious health condition for which the employee took leave. For example, an employee who took leave after losing a limb may not be asked to provide an RTW certification that addresses his mental condition.
  • You must have provided proper notice of the RTW requirement in your employee handbook and/or Designation Notice.
  • You should also include a Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) safe harbor statement on all RTW certification forms.

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