If you are responsible for administering your company’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) policy, you know that the associated FMLA forms can be both your best friend and your worst nightmare.
On the one hand, proper use of the forms – such as the various Certifications, the Rights & Responsibilities Notice, and the Designation Notice – can provide valuable information to help you evaluate and manage employees’ leave requests. On the other hand, attempting to comply requirements surrounding the forms, not to mention trying to understand the meaning of information received from medical providers – can be an exercise in frustration.
Below are some “best practices” relating to FMLA forms that may aid in the administration of your FMLA policy:
- FMLA Employee Request Form: Although the Department of Labor (“DOL”) has not provided a template FMLA request form, employers are permitted to develop and use their own. While implementing such a form (including adding a reference to it in your policy) would not permit ignoring an oral request, requiring employees to submit requests in writing provides a clear method of requesting leave, establishes a record of what leave was requested and when, and creates an opportunity to reiterate expectations surrounding FMLA leave requests.
- Deadlines: Become familiar with the deadlines for providing various notices to employees (e.g., Notice of Eligibility due within five days of being placed on notice that