Since the Department of Labor’s last set of Family Medical Leave Act forms expired at the end of 2011, employers have been waiting for new ones. Well, they’ve finally arrived, and here’s what’s changed about them:

Not much. The most significant change was to the expiration dates. The new model forms state that they are good through Feb. 28, 2015.

At a minimum, employers expected the new forms to make reference to the amendments to military family leave and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) safe harbor language.

But they don’t, leaving it up to employers to amend the forms themselves to ensure they don’t run afoul of the law.

Last month, we reported that the previous set of FMLA model forms had expired, but employers could continue to use them until updated forms were issued.

Before the new forms from the DOL could be issued, they first had to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB is barred by law from approving the forms for longer than a three-year period, hence the 2015 expiration date.

Adding GINA safe harbor language

One thing employers will want to do to the new forms: Add the GINA safe harbor language that we provided last month to your FMLA medical certification forms to prevent healthcare providers from disclosing employees’ genetic information to you.

It’s not uncommon for employers to inadvertently obtain genetic information when they request that healthcare providers complete certification forms. The safe harbor language can prevent that from happening.


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