On July 17, 2020 the US Department of Labor issued new optional Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms. The FMLA is a federal law that permits eligible employees with qualifying medical conditions to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave. According to the DOL, the two-step forms will make it easier for employees and employers alike to comply with the law.
Step 1 (Form WH-381): Is an employee eligible for FMLA leave?
When an employee requests FMLA leave or when the employer learns that an employee’s leave could fall under FMLA, the employer is to issue the WH-381 form. The form notifies the employee of their eligibility for FMLA leave and outlines their rights.
Step 2 (Form WH-382): FMLA verdict
After the employee returns the WH-381 form, the employer must review it and inform the employee of its decision within 5 business days. Form WH-382 allows employers to notify employees of the FMLA verdict: Approved, Not Approved, or Additional Information Needed. If approved, the employer would also include on the form the estimated duration of FMLA leave. If not approved, the employer must indicate why the request was denied. And if additional information is needed, the employer may specify what else they need to certify the decision.
In addition to these forms, the DOL also published additional resources that employers may find helpful when issuing FMLA leave:
Certification of Healthcare Provider for a Serious Health Condition
- Employee’s serious health condition (Form WH-380-E)– use when a leave request is due to the medical condition of the employee.
- Family member’s serious health condition (Form WH-380-F)– use when a leave request is due to the medical condition of the employee’s family member.
Certification of Military Family Leave
- Qualifying Exigency (Form WH-384)– use when the leave request arises out of the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent.
- Military Caregiver Leave of a Current Service member (Form WH-385)– use when requesting leave to care for a family member who is a current service member with a serious injury or illness.
- Military Caregiver Leave of a Veteran (Form WH-385-V)– use when requesting leave to care for a family member is who a covered veteran with a serious injury or illness.
The DOL has designated the revised FMLA forms as optional and employers are permitted to create their own versions. But if they do, they must ensure that they communicate all the necessary information to the employee requesting FMLA leave.