The United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently unveiled updated optional forms that employers and employees may use when applying for and coordinating Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.
The updated forms were announced by the WHD to improve employers’ and employees’ experience with the FMLA and are available here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/forms.
According to the WHD, the new forms aim to simplify the FMLA leave application process and make it easier to understand. Updates include replacing questions that required written responses with statements that may be completed by checking a box, and electronic signature features to minimize physical contact.
The forms affected by the recent updates include:
- Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities, form WH-381
- Designation Notice, form WH-382
- Employee’s Serious Health Condition, form WH-380-E
- Family Member’s Serious Health Condition, form WH-380-F
- Qualifying Exigency, form WH-384
- Military Caregiver Leave of a Current Servicemember, form WH-385
- Military Caregiver Leave of a Veteran, form WH-385-V
Although the FMLA does not require a specific format or form for the employer notices required under the FMLA, employers should take note of the recent updates and consider incorporating the new forms into their process. Employers may use the updated WHD prototype forms, continue to use the prior forms, or create their own version as long as the employer’s version contains the same basic information as the WHD prototypes. Employers should also review their policies for consistency with the WHD’s streamlined process.
The Department of Labor also published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register. The RFI seeks public comment on the administration and use of the FMLA. This call for public feedback signals the onset of potential changes to the FMLA that was last updated in 2015—so stay tuned!
Please do not hesitate to contact your labor and employment attorney to discuss these new forms or any other FMLA process or substance issue.