First, the bad news: As if HR personnel who are responsible for managing leave requests aren’t already stretched thin due to COVID-19 issues, they now have another item for their to do list: Become familiar with, and begin using, new Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) forms issued late last week by the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”).
Now, the good news: Overall, despite being longer and wordier, the new FMLA forms appear likely to be embraced by employers, employees, and medical providers alike for being more clear, helpful, and user-friendly than prior versions.
The new FMLA forms are available on the DOL’s website. They include revised versions of the following forms:
- Combined Eligibility Notice / Notice of Rights and Responsibilities (WH-381);
- Designation Notice (WH-382);
- Certification of Health Care Provider (one for employee’s own serious health condition; one for leave relating to care of a covered family member; WH-380 E and WH-380 F);
- Certification of Military Family Leave (including forms relating to Qualifying Exigency leave and leave relating to a Current Servicemember or Veteran; WH-384 and WH-385/WH-385-V).
One overarching revision is that each form now includes more “explanatory” language relating to FMLA rights and obligations. For example, the Eligibility Notice includes a description of the eligibility rules and definitions of such key terms as “spouse,” “child” and “parent.” The Rights and Responsibilities Notice (which, as before, is combined with the Eligibility Notice) includes expanded explanations regarding the substitution of paid