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Key Changes To Note on DOL's New FMLA Forms

This month, the U.S. Department of Labor published new FMLA model notices for employers to use in the administration of their FMLA leave requests. While not mandatory, many employers choose to use these forms to help ensure compliance. It is advisable to review the new model for those businesses who choose to continue using their existing in-house forms. There are many changes, and employers may decide to incorporate any clarifying wording or structures that would make it easier for employees to complete their requests.

Are the New Forms Right for Your Business?

There are many factors that go into deciding whether to use the newly modified forms. Employers will want to consider the status and layout of their existing forms, as well as any information that state law mandates employers collect. If previous updates are any indication, most businesses will likely continue using their old forms with minor adjustments and modifications based on DOL's new template. Before adopting any changes, we recommend consulting with an HR professional to ensure your business isn't ignoring the required sections and information.

Check Boxes Are "In"

One of the most noticeable changes is the inclusion of multiple checkboxes. This eliminates the need for employees to write lengthy descriptions and makes it faster for them to complete the form. This will help alleviate confusion caused by poor handwriting, and it will make it much simpler for employers to scan the forms quickly.

Notice of Eligibility of Rights & Responsibilities

DOL has enhanced the descriptions accompanying the sections related to rights and responsibilities as follows:

  • Notice of eligibility - Changes describe in detail FMLA eligibility rules and define key terms.
  • Notice of rights and responsibilities - There are now six subparts within this section. Each subpart thoroughly addresses employee rights and responsibilities. This includes information related to leave entitlement, paid leave substitution, health benefits, returning to work, etc.
  • Additional information needed - This section includes a detailed description of each category of information requested by the employer to determine FMLA eligibility.

These changes make it easier for employees to provide the necessary information by breaking these down into smaller subparts. This helps facilitate faster review by employers to determine whether the leave request satisfies FMLA requirements.

Designation Notice Is Sectioned

The Designation Notice has been broken into three different sections. These are:

  • Employer - This now offers checkboxes that allow the employer to identify the reason the leave request qualifies for FMLA.
  • Additional information needed - This section now includes a section marked "Incomplete or Insufficient," which employers can use to explain to employees what medical certificates and records must be submitted.
  • FMLA leave approved - This final section allows employers to explain the employee's leave entitlement. Employers may also include information about substituting paid leave and all details related to the employees return to work.

Medical Certifications Changed

This section is where the most significant changes were made. These involve Forms WH-380-E and WH-380-F. These changes make it possible to gather significant detail from the employee or their health care provider. For example, dates of specified medical treatment, best estimates regarding how much time is needed, how long the individual can expect to be incapacitated or on a reduced schedule, planned treatments for chronic health conditions, etc.

Labor laws in the United States are constantly evolving. To stay on top of them, companies across the United States depend on the team at Greenlink Payroll. We encourage you to contact our team at (480) 385-2525 to learn more about the assistance we offer that helps our clients stay compliant with FMLA leave regulations.

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