Payroll Briefs

DOL Adds New Fact Sheets for FMLA Leave

October 18, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently created additional fact sheets to further clarify categories of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA typically allows qualifying employees in workplaces with 50 or more employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to care for:

  • A severely ill child, spouse or parent
  • Themselves, if they are severely ill
  • A newborn or newly-adopted child

The unpaid leave also applies to employees whose spouse, child or parent is a covered military member on active duty, or who has been alerted of an upcoming call to active duty.

Health Conditions

Fact Sheet #28P (Taking Leave from Work When You or Your Family Member Has a Serious Health Condition Under the FMLA), details when a physical or mental illness, injury or other condition meets the FMLA’s criteria to be considered a serious health condition. According to the FMLA, a serious health condition is defined as “illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.” Further details on inpatient care and continuing treatment are outlined in the guidance.

Employers may need employees to provide a medical certification when requesting leave for their own or a family member’s serious health condition. However, a medical diagnosis is not mandatory for authorizing a serious health condition. For more information, reference Fact Sheet #28G (Certification of a Serious Health Condition Under the Family and Medical Leave Act).

Birth, Adoption, Foster Care and Bonding

Under Fact Sheet #28Q (Taking Leave from Work for Birth, Placement and Bonding with a Child Under the FMLA), eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave for the birth of a child, placement of a child for adoption or foster care, or bonding with a child beginning on the date of birth. Eligible employees may also take FMLA leave when a child is first placed with them for adoption or foster care, and to bond with the child during the 12-month period of the child being placed with them. Employees should provide their employer notice of leave within at least 30 days, or as much time as possible, and follow the company’s policy for requesting FMLA leave. Spouses who work for the same employer can take a total of 12 combined weeks within a 12-month period.

Employers cannot request certification for FMLA leave to bond with a newborn child or a child placed for adoption or foster care. However, employers can request employees provide reasonable documentation of a family relationship, such as a written statement or a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Retaliation Prohibited

Employers who interfere with, restrain or deny an employee’s exercise of their FMLA rights risk violating the FMLA. If your organization needs assistance tracking FMLA leave or its requirements, DM Payroll Solutions offers access to HR support to complement its payroll solutions to help answer your questions. Contact us today to learn more.