The U.S. Department of Labor wants to change the forms employers use to administer the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to make them easier to understand, increase compliance with the law, and improve customer service.
The DOL first proposed seven changes Aug. 5 and is currently accepting public comment.
Changes include answering questions with a series of check boxes instead of written responses, clarifying the patient's condition to reduce the demand on healthcare providers for follow-up information, and updating medical certification forms to speed the determination of whether an impairment is a serious health condition covered by FMLA.
The changes are designed to eliminate repetitive questions and simplify the process for healthcare providers.
One change seeks to gather more information to support leaves taken for chronic conditions and permanent and long-term conditions, something the existing forms failed to do.
The new forms also provide more clarification by defining terms including "serious health condition" for healthcare providers.
Federal FMLA was first enacted in 1993.
It applies to public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.
These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year reasons that include:
- The birth and care of an employee's newborn child
- A child for adoption or foster care is placed with the employee
- Caring for an immediate family member, such as a spouse, parent, or child, with a serious health condition
- The employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
The federal FMLA law is separate from Connecticut's paid leave program that lawmakers approved in the 2019 General Assembly session.
The deadline to submit comments on proposed changes to federal FMLA forms is Oct. 4.
You may email your comments to the DOL, or mail them to:
Division of Regulations, Legislation and Interpretation, Wage and Hour, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC 20210.