The model FMLA forms provided by the Department of Labor (DOL) expired on May 31, 2018, but there’s no need to worry! We’re here to help with the next steps for employers!
Why Did The FMLA Forms Expire?
The recently expired DOL model FMLA forms are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This is due to the Paperwork Reduction Act, which requires federal agencies to seek approval from the OMB for forms, in certain cases. The OMB can approve forms for a maximum period of up to three years, after which they must be submitted for renewal. The DOL has applied for renewal of their model FMLA forms, but hasn’t received approval from the OMB yet.
As you may recall, the last time the DOL’s model FMLA forms expired was February 28, 2015, after which the OMB approved a three year renewal, until May 31, 2018. At that time, the DOL added some language regarding the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to the forms. This time around, the forms are expected to look the same upon renewal, as the DOL’s renewal request didn’t include any proposed changes.
Can I Continue To Use Expired Forms?
As always, it’s a best practice for employers to ensure they’re using the most current forms available! While the OMB conducts its review, the expiration date of the model FMLA forms will continue to be extended on a month-to-month basis. As such, the current expiration date has been extended to June 30, 2018.
The DOL’s model FMLA forms with a June expiration date can be found here. To ensure continued compliance, employers are advised to make the switch to these updated forms if they’re still using any with a May expiration date.
Please note that the FMLA forms provided by the DOL are model forms, which may be adapted for your own use. They provide a guideline of what information is allowed to be asked of employees when it comes to approving FMLA leave, though the exact forms are not mandatory to the leave approval process. Your organization may already utilize its own adapted FMLA forms, in which case you won’t need to switch forms monthly until renewal!
It’s still advised that employers using adapted forms keep alert for any changes made to the DOL’s forms upon renewal, and adapt their own as necessary. As previously mentioned, no changes to the existing forms are expected!
It’s important to note that the model FMLA forms provided by the DOL don’t always consider information which may be prohibited by federal, state or other privacy legislation, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and GINA. Pieces of legislation like these can impact the information employers may or may not ask employees for. This means using the the DOL forms doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’re being compliant! If you’d like to learn more about FMLA privacy, we suggest you take a look at this post.
We advise employers to keep their eyes and ears open for the OMB's renewal decision, and ensure that your forms stay up to date and compliant with any changes. Consider utilizing a web app like Leave Genius to stay ahead of the curve with automatically generated leave forms! When you’re able to stop worrying about forms being out of date or expired, you’ll have the time to put the human back in Human Resources!