U.S. Department of Labor Issues New FMLA Forms and Guidance on Return-To-Work Issues
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to be very active in providing information to the public. Last week, the DOL issued new optional forms that employers can use for the administration of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The updated forms address the issues of eligibility for leave, the designation of leave, and the certification needed from an employee’s health care provider.
New FMLA Forms
In its press release, the DOL announced that the forms are “simpler and easier to understand for employers, leave administrators, healthcare providers, and employees seeking leave.” Among the changes announced by the DOL are boxes that can be checked instead of requiring written responses, and electronic signature features. As the DOL stated, “[t]he changes reduce the amount of time it takes a healthcare provider to provide information, and help leave administrators review and communicate information to employees more directly and with greater clarity, reducing the likelihood of violations.” Copies of these updated forms can be found here.
DOL Request for Information
The DOL also announced that it will publish a Request For Information (RFI) which will seek public feedback on the administration and use of FMLA leave. Specifically, the RFI will ask employees and employers to provide input as to what they would “like to see changed in the FMLA regulations to better effectuate the rights and obligations under the FMLA.” Simultaneously, the Women’s Bureau of the DOL announced the publication of an RFI seeking information on “the impact of paid family and medical leave on America’s workforce.” Given these initiatives, further changes and revisions to the FMLA and paid family leave at the federal level can be anticipated.
Guidance on Return-To-Work Issues
Today, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, published updated guidance as to how the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FMLA, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) all impact the workplace as employees continue to return to work. As announced in the DOL’s press release, “[t]he new guidance provides plain-language questions and answers addressing critical issues under all three laws.” The guidance also includes Q&As about FFCRA-posting requirements and another optional poster on “How much paid leave can employees take?”