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What to Know About New FMLA Forms Issued by DOL

What to Know About New FMLA Forms Issued by DOL

Released in July 2020, new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms make it easier for employers, employees, leave administrators, and healthcare providers to gather and deliver data. Here’s what you need to know about the latest updates.

 

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year and that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. This law applies to all public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.

Covered employees may take leave under FMLA for the following reasons

  • The birth and care of a newborn child
  • The placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, including a spouse, child, or parent
  • If an employee has a serious health condition and is unable to perform the essential functions of their job
  • Any qualifying exigency relating to a spouse, child, or parent who is a military member and on covered active duty or called to covered active duty status

 

At a Glance: What Changes Were Made to New FMLA Forms?

According to a press release issued by the Department of Labor (DOL), the new forms “include more questions that users can answer by checking a response box and electronic signature features to reduce contact.”

DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), which made the announcement and oversees FMLA enforcement, indicates that the updates will result in the following improvements: 

  1. Reduce the time users spend providing information
  2. Improve communications between leave applicants and administrations
  3. Reduce the likelihood of violations

 

In-Depth: How Do the Updated FMLA Forms Work?

Note that in a recent article, legal publication The National Law Review points out while the forms are optional, they “include information that must be communicated to the employee.”

The updated forms include: 

  1. Form WH-381 (Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities): This form alerts employees about eligibility requirements under the FMLA, and should be delivered to workers upon requesting FMLA leave. The new version of this form makes it easier for employees to indicate why they’re requesting leave and when they plan to return. 
  2. Form WH-382 (Designation Notice): This form is delivered to employees to alert them if a requested leave has been designated as covered under FMLA. It also includes the approved amount of FMLA leave. According to SHRM, the latest update outlines steps employees should take if they filled out an insufficient request. 
  3. Forms WH-380-E and WH-380-F (Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition): Each of these forms should be used when an employer requests an employee to submit verification of their medical reason for leave. The first form is reserved for employees with serious health conditions and the second applies to employees’ family members with serious health conditions. Now, these forms require providers to include a “best estimate” of future treatment.
  4. Forms WH-384, WH-385, and WH-385-V (Certifications for Military Family Leave): Form WH-384 applies to eligible employees whose spouse, child, or parent is an active duty member of the military or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty. Form WH-385 applies to eligible employees who need to care for a covered servicemember with a serious illness or injury. Finally, Form WH-385-V applies to eligible employees seeking to take FMLA leave to care for a covered veteran with a serious illness or injury.

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