Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Do you know? Content of FMLA medical certifications


So often we get bogged down in the minutia of an employment law issue or a specific case. I thought that today, we’d take a step back and focus on something really basic—the mechanics of FMLA medical certifications.

When an employee take an FMLA leave for his or her own serious health condition, or that of a family member, an employer may require that the employee obtain a medical certification from a health care provider to certify that the medical condition qualified under the FMLA. The certification may seek the following information:

  1. The name, address, telephone number, and fax number of the health care provider and type of medical practice/specialization.

  2. The approximate date on which the serious health condition began, and its probable duration.

  3. A statement or description of medical facts regarding the patient’s health condition for which FMLA leave is requested. The medical facts must be sufficient to support the need for leave. Such medical facts may include information on symptoms, diagnosis, hospitalization, doctor visits, whether medication has been prescribed, any referrals for evaluation or treatment (physical therapy, for example), or any other regimen of continuing treatment.

  4. If the employee is the patient, information to establish that the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job, the nature of any other work restrictions, and the likely duration of such inability.

  5. If the patient is a covered family member with a serious health condition, information to establish that the family member is in need of care, and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the leave required to care for the family member.

  6. If an employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis for planned medical treatment of the employee’s or a covered family member’s serious health condition, information to establish the medical necessity for such intermittent or reduced schedule leave and an estimate of the dates and duration of such treatments and any periods of recovery

  7. If an employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis for the employee’s serious health condition, including pregnancy, that may result in unforeseeable episodes of incapacity, information to establish the medical necessity for such intermittent or reduced schedule leave and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the episodes of incapacity

  8. If an employee requests leave on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition, a statement that such leave is medically necessary to care for the family member, which can include assisting in the family member’s recovery, and an estimate of the frequency and duration of the required leave.

The Department of Labor has published two forms for employers to use for a health care provider to certify the need for FMLA leave: WH-380-E (for an employee’s own serious health condition), and WH-380-F (for a family member’s serious health condition). While these forms are optional, the DOL approves their use, they are available for free, they cover all of the permitted information, and leave no room for over-reaching. In other words, if you’re not using these forms, you should be.


Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.

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