FMLA Guidelines: Documentation in Support of an FMLA Qualifying Absence

Provision of Documentation

The employee is responsible for providing the University with appropriate documentation to support an FMLA qualifying absence. Failure to provide the University with appropriate documentation may result in the ineligibility of the employee for the FMLA.

Note:  While individual circumstances may warrant a difference in practice, departments should otherwise be consistent in their in their requests for documentation from employees.

Documentation

  • Employee’s own serious health condition

An employee requesting time away from work for a serious health condition: have DOL Form WH-380-E completed by the medical provider and submit the form through the employing department processes. Alternatively, when requesting use of sick time pay for absences anticipated to exceed ten (10) work days, submit acceptable supporting documentation from the health care provider to Work Connections.

  • Birth of a child (birth parent)

A birth parent requesting time away from work for the birth of a child: have DOL Form WH-380-E  completed by the medical provider and submit the form through the employing department processes. Employees who are medically unable to work prior to the birth of the child, are medically unable to return to work 6-8 weeks following the birth of the child, or employees paid on sponsored funds: submit acceptable documentation from the health care provider to Work Connections.

  • Birth of a child/Adoption/Foster Care/Legal Guardianship (non-birth parent)

An employee requesting time away from work to care for a newly placed child should provide a copy of acceptable documentation, confirming the family relationship, through the employing department processes.

  • Care of a family member with a serious health condition

An employee requesting time away from work to care for a family member with a serious health condition should have DOL Form WH-380-F completed by the health care provider and submit the form through the employing department processes.

  • Qualifying exigency

An employee requesting time away from work due to a qualifying exigency should complete DOL Form WH-384 and submit the form through the employing department processes.

  • Care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness

An employee requesting time away from work to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness should have DOL Form WH-385 completed by the health care provider and submit the form through the employing department processes.

Note:  An invitational travel order (ITO) or invitational travel authorization (ITA) is sufficient to support an employee’s absence for the period of time specified in the ITO or ITA. If an employee needs to care for a covered servicemember beyond the expiration date specified in the ITO or ITA, the employee should have DOL Form WH-385 completed for the remainder of the period of the employee’s absence or absences.

Frequency of Documentation

When an employee’s absence is to care for a family member with a serious health condition or for the employee’s own serious health condition, medical documentation may not be requested more often than every 30 days unless:

  • The employee requests an extension of the absence;
  • Circumstances described by the previous medical documentation have significantly changed; or
  • New information casts doubt on the validity of the employee’s medical documentation.

The ability to request updated medical information every 30 days is restricted when the medical documentation indicates that the minimum duration of the condition will exceed 30 days.  Under this circumstance, medical documentation may not be requested until the minimum duration expires.  However, medical documentation may be requested every six months if the minimum duration of the condition exceeds six months.

When an employee’s absence is due to a qualifying exigency or to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, documentation may only be requested once.

Record of Documentation

FMLA documentation will be maintained in a file separate from an employee’s personnel file. FMLA documentation will be retained for a minimum of three years.