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    Employers covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles) should be aware of the newly-revised FMLA forms posted by the U.S. Department of Labor on its website.  Here are the links to the new forms, including:
    There had been confusion about some of the forms, and the DOL says the new forms are "simpler and easier for employees, employers, leave administrators and health care providers to understand and use".  The forms can be completed and saved electronically.
    Typically when employees request leave, employers provide a notice about FMLA eligibility, rights and responsibilities, as well as a medical certification form. Employers are not required to ask for medical certification if they already have enough information to determine whether the absence qualifies for FMLA leave.  For example, if an employee if seriously injured in a car accident and must be hospitalized for several weeks, it is obvious the employee qualifies medically for the leave, assuming the employee otherwise satisfies the prerequisites of having been employed for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service in the previous 12 months.
    Some of the forms were revised extensively to require more specific information in notices and medical certifications. For example, the new medical certification form more clearly explains to health care providers the type of information needed relating to the frequency and duration of the need for leave.  Also, the new form asks for more specific information about the essential functions that the employee is unable to perform, thus allowing employers to explore more easily the reasonable accommodations that might allow the employee to work rather than needing leave.
    The use of the forms is optional, and employers can still create their own.  We recommend, however, that employers use the DOL forms to cover all the requirements.
    Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.  If you no longer wish to be included in our notifications about employment law developments, please send a message to
    John E. Falcone
    P.O. Box 1080
    Lynchburg, Virginia 24505
    (434) 846-2768