Absence Matters: Medical Certifications and Recertifications

DMEC Staff@Work

What You Need to Know About Medical Certifications and Recertifications

Medical Certifications and RecertificationsBy Bryon Bass

SVP, Disability and Absence Practice & Compliance

For most disability and leave of absence administrative matters, the devil is in the details. Certainly, this is true with respect to the medical certification and recertification process under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For this reason, it is advisable to review requirements frequently to ensure regulatory compliance and proper administration.

Employers can require a medical certification when an employee requests time off work due to a serious health condition or a family member’s serious health condition, including a spouse, child, or parent.

Qualifying exigencies also entitle employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. This condition can be met when a family member of an employee is on active duty in the armed forces or has been notified of an impending call to active duty. Intended to help employees manage family affairs, this type of leave can also require a certification.

When an employee makes a leave request under these circumstances, the organization must indicate whether a certification is required and outline the consequences of not providing the required information. The employer may deny FMLA leave if the employee fails to meet the requirements or does not provide the documentation. Barring extenuating circumstances, the employee has 15 calendar days from the date of the request to provide a complete and sufficient certification and is responsible for paying all related costs.

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