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FMLA Form Updates Challenge Employers

July 11, 2018
Employers who reach 50 employees for the first time and thus find themselves subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are often surprised to discover that the US Department of Labor (DOL) regularly updates the forms used to document FMLA leaves.
DOL has forms available on its Web site
The challenge is to be aware of the “expires on” date. That date appears in the upper right-hand corner of the document. The last updated version of the FMLA leave form was issued in 2015 with an expiration date of 5/31/2018. When that date passed without any changes or updating to the form, the date was changed to 6/30/2018. When nothing new happened again, the date was changed again to 7/31/2018. 
Unlike the I-9 form, which is also regularly updated by the USCIS, and where it is mandatory to use the current version, the instructions for the FMLA forms state that the use of these forms is optional and that an employer may create its own form.
An employer is unlikely to be fined by the DOL for using the incorrect form when the only new development is the date change. The DOL makes it clear, however, that employer failure to provide the employee with notice about FMLA may constitute interference with FMLA rights.
Please see this fact sheet for more of a detailed explanation.  
The fact that the FMLA form date is changing one month at a time suggests that substantive changes are likely to happen with the next officially updated version. For now, it makes sense to regularly check the Web site for a new version to keep current. 
AIM members may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 800-470-6277 with questions about this or any other HR-related matter. 
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