The Department of Labor (DOL) revised Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms this summer.
Extensive changes have been made that require more specific information in notices and medical certifications. The use of the forms is optional as many employers create their own.
It is important to note that additional changes to the forms could be coming.
Among the forms changed were the WH-381, the notice of eligibility and rights and responsibilities; WH-382, designation notice; WH-380-E, medical certification of an employee’s serious health condition; and WH-380-F, medical certification of a family member’s serious health condition. While some of the forms were completely changed, some may only have new instruction on the return of forms. A summary of some of these changes is mentioned below.
Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities
The DOL made extensive changes to the notice of eligibility and rights and responsibilities. The new model notice is reorganized into seven topics related to an employee’s FMLA leave and return to work, each with its own heading, lending greater clarity to the information provided on each topic, he said.
The DOL also aligned the notice more closely with the leave regulations, including:
- Requiring an employer to indicate how far short of the 1,250 hours of service requirement an employee is if a worker does not meet that eligibility criterion. The DOL notes that one of the requirements for an employee to be eligible to take leave under the FMLA is having worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave.
- The option for an employer to indicate the effect that FMLA leave has on employee benefits other than health insurance.
- Whether FMLA leave will run concurrently with workers’ compensation, any applicable disability insurance coverage or leave required by state law.
The most notable change to the designation form might be the DOL’s effort to outline the steps that an employee should take to amend an incomplete or insufficient certification. According to experts, this change ultimately will serve the employer well, as it improves the chances that it will obtain the information it needs to make a designation decision.
The revised health care provider certification for an employee’s own serious health condition or a family member’s condition now requires the health care provider to provide a “best estimate” of the employee’s or family member’s future treatment.
The form tells health care providers that saying the duration of incapacity may be lifetime, unknown or indeterminate is not helpful and may not be enough to determine FMLA coverage. The changes aim to make it easier for doctors to complete the forms and for employers to evaluate the information they receive, without needing to repeatedly bug the doctor for follow-up information.
Look for more updates from MyHRConcierge on this topic as information becomes available.
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