On July 16th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced that it was starting to take significant steps to streamline optional-use forms that workers can use to request, and employers can use to coordinate, leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Additionally, on July 17th, the WHD published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking the public’s feedback on the FMLA’s overall administration and use.

 Improvements to Leave Request Forms

The WHD considers the new forms to be simpler and easier for employees, employers, leave administrators, and healthcare providers to understand and use. Revised with substantial public input, the forms include more questions that users can answer by checking a response box and electronic signature features to reduce contact during the global coronavirus pandemic. The Division believes the changes will reduce the time users spend providing information, improve communications between leave applicants and administrators, and reduce the likelihood of violations.

“The improvements we announced…reflect the ongoing commitment of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to support workers’ families and those who employ them at a time they need it most,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “Making application and administration of the Family and Medical Leave Act more efficient and seeking public input for continued improvements ensures the effective implementation of the law and compliance with it.”

Feedback from Employers

The RFI published by WHD seeks to obtain feedback on the challenges that employers face and gather best practices that they utilize in the use and administration of the FMLA in the workplace. The information when collected will help the Division identify areas for additional compliance assistance to ensure that the FMLA is understood by employers and employees alike. The comment period for the RFI closes on September 15th.