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Family and Medical Leave Act: Medical Certification

If I am eligible for FMLA leave and request leave, what information can my employer request?

When an employee requests and takes leave, as provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), because of his/her own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a family member, an employer can require a medical certification from a health care provider. However, the ability to request information is limited by federal regulations and depends on the scenario under which the employee is requesting leave.

Medical certification for employee’s own serious health condition.

If an employee takes leave for his/her own serious health condition, an employer can generally request the following information: (i) the name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the health care provider and the type of medical practice/specialization; (ii) the approximate date on which the serious health condition commenced and its probable duration; (iii) a statement or description of appropriate medical facts regarding the health condition for which leave is requested; and (iv) information that is sufficient to establish that the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the employee’s job, the nature of any work restrictions, and the likely duration of such inability.

Medical certification for leave to care for family member’s serious health condition.

If an employee takes leave for a family member’s serious health condition, an employer can generally request the following information: (i) the name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the health care provider and the type of medical practice/specialization; (ii) the approximate date on which the serious health condition commenced and its probable duration; (iii) a statement or description of appropriate medical facts regarding the health condition for which leave is requested; and (iv) information that is sufficient to establish that the family member is in need of care and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the leave required for the employee to care for his/her family member.

Employer: how do I create a form to appropriately request this information?

If you are an employer wondering where to begin when requesting or creating a form to request medical certification from health care providers that meets the requirements imposed by the FMLA, there are a couple of options available to you. You can either draft a request from scratch, adhering to the requirements imposed, or, you can use one of the two forms developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”). The first DOL form, WH-380E, is used for the purpose of requesting such information when the employee’s need for leave is due to his/her own serious health condition. The second DOL form, WH-380F, is used for employees who need leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Instead of complying with the certification requirement, an employee can elect to provide an authorization, release, or waiver that allows the employer to communicate directly with the employee’s or employee’s family member’s health care provider. However, such cannot be required by an employer.

If you feel your employment rights under the FMLA have been violated, or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced Birmingham employment law attorneys at Wrady Michel & King. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 319-9724. We are here to serve you.