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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New FMLA Forms from the DOL are Here!

The Department of Labor (DOL) have been working away posting new model FMLA notices and medical certification forms.
Expiration: August 31, 2021.

No more month-to-month extensions. Rest easy through summer 2021. There’s nothing new, other than the new expiration date. Nevertheless, use these templates moving forward. For easy reference, here are the links to the new FMLA notices and forms on my blog site at www.alabamaatwork.com:

Notices

Certification forms
The notices/forms also can be accessed from this DOL web page.

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Common Sense Counsel: 9 Ways to Stop FMLA Abuse:

  1. Notice: Always insist employees provide the required notice once they learn of the need for leave, and coordinate with supervisors that such leave be designated as FMLA leave to make sure that employees start burning their FMLA allotment – nothing goes uncounted.
  2. Dock their pay: FMLA leave is always unpaid, and even for exempt employees, you can make deductions from their wages for a few hours’ intermittent leave without automatically converting them to overtime-eligible non-exempt employees.
  3. Ensure eligibility: Make sure employees requesting such leave are eligible to take it. They must be within 75 miles of a worksite with at least 50 employees.
  4. Don’t give it prematurely: Make sure employees have gained at least a year’s seniority with your company, and that they have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. If not, they’re not eligible and requests can be denied.
  5. Require medical certification: Leave must be medically necessary. You can insist on medical certifications, and annual recertifications if needed, and ask about specific reasons for leave, its duration and dates of treatment, both from the healthcare provider and the employee. Attach a job description to the medical certification form. 
  6. Transfers: You can transfer employees to other work if intermittent leave is too disruptive in their normal positions.
  7. Count overtime: You can count overtime missed in calculating the total 12-week allotment.
  8. Count the holidays: You can count any holidays falling within any leave taken toward employees’ total 12-week FMLA allotment, to make sure they reach the limit sooner, and
  9. Make ’em use paid time first: You can compel the use of paid leave first, so employees have to burn vacation before any unpaid FMLA leave.
Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP offices in Opelika, AL and can be contacted at teden@constangy.com or 334-246-2901.