Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released new model forms that employers can use to coordinate employee leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Released on July 16, 2020, the revised medical certification and notices forms were immediately effective and available for employers to use.
The DOL also published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking the public’s feedback on the law’s administration and use. The updated FMLA forms have a revision date of “June 2020,” and list an expiration date of “6/30/2023.”
According to the DOL, the new forms “are simpler and easier for employees, employers, leave administrators and healthcare providers to understand and use.” The forms contain new features such as more questions that users can answer by checking a response box and electronic signature features.
The DOL believes the changes will reduce the time users spend providing information, improve communications between leave applicants and administrators and reduce the likelihood of violations.
All of the model forms are now available for employers and employees to use in meeting their FMLA notification and certification obligations:
- Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities Notice, Form WH-381
- Designation Notice, Form WH-382
- Certification for Employee’s Serious Health Condition, WH-380-E
- Certification for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition, WH-380-F
- Certification for Qualifying Exigency, WH-384
- Military Caregiver, Leave of Current Servicemember, WH-385
- Military Caregiver, Leave of a Veteran, WH-385-V
The model forms are electronically fillable PDFs that can be saved and transmitted electronically. The FMLA does not require the use of any specific form so employers can use the agency’s model forms or they may use their own forms, as long as they provide the same basic notice information and require the same certification information.
Although the DOL has released new versions of the FMLA certification and notice forms, it should be noted that the Department has not published a model leave form for use with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). According to the DOL, the various FMLA forms are not applicable to FFCRA leave. On its FMLA question and answer webpage, the Department states the following:
“Do these forms [FMLA] have any applicability to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)? No. The FFCRA has different documentation requirements which can be found at 29 CFR 826.100 or www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions. Please see question & answer items #15 and #16 for more information.”
As a result, employers may use their own forms for FFCRA leave, but they should include the basic information as delineated by the DOL.
Nancy R. McDermott is a Senior Legal Content Specialist for BLR and has served as the editor-in-chief for The Personnel Advisor since 2000.