Do You Have to Use the DOL’s Certification Forms?

The Department of Labor (DOL) is scheduled to release new FMLA forms in the near future.

But did you know that you are not required to use the DOL’s Certification of Health Care Provider forms?

In most cases, you have to use any medical information the employee provides if it allows you to determine if the condition meets the definition of a serious health condition.

Here are some examples:

  • A doctor’s note for an upcoming maternity leave with the scheduled c-section date (this allows you to approve the leave as long as she is not requesting time off prior to the birth due to complications)
  • Hospital discharge papers showing that the employee was admitted to the hospital and the corresponding dates (you may need follow up information if they were off of work beyond their hospital stay)
  • A detailed doctor’s note that states that the employee has a chronic condition, lists the treatment dates, and the estimated frequency of future absences

As long as you are consistent in your practice, you can use alternative forms of medical information from the employee.

What can’t you ask during the FMLA certification process?

Genetic Information: Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) you cannot discriminate against employees based on genetic information. During the FMLA process, you should not ask for the employee’s family medical history or for any information that is not directly related to their current health condition. For example, if the employee is off of work for heart surgery, you cannot ask information about their family’s history of heart disease to try and determine the length of their leave or probability of re-occurring leaves.  (Likewise . . . If their leave is for a family member’s health condition, you cannot discriminate against the employee based on the family member’s medical information.)

Other Health Conditions: The employee may have multiple health conditions, but you cannot require the employee or their doctor to reveal additional health information beyond their current condition. For example, if an employee requests a leave for

Exact Dates for Unplanned Absences: Most doctor’s will not be able to predict the exact nature of chronic illnesses. You can ask for estimates, but not exact dates.

Can you approve FMLA leaves without any medical Documentation?

Surprisingly, yes. As long as you’re consistent.

Many employers and FMLA administrators chose to approve all maternity leaves based on the employee’s reported due date without any additional documentation. They only require additional information if the employee needs time off due to complications.

You can also approve FMLA to run concurrently with worker’s compensation claims and base the FMLA approval on the worker’s comp approval. Just be sure you still send all the required notices to inform the employee that you are designating FMLA.

 We hope you enjoyed reading our article on Do You Have to Use the DOL’s Certification Forms?

Leave Solutions is based in Milwaukee, WI and helps employers with their FMLA and leave of absence processes from a Human Resources perspective.

Contact us today at if you have questions on DOL certification forms or other topics.

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