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FMLA Forms: What's Required for Your Leave

Needing time off from work is bound to happen at some stage of your career. In order for your employer to satisfy the terms of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), they will often request additional information by way of FMLA forms.

Providing an accurate and completed form can help guarantee your leave's terms and ensure you still have your job when you're ready to return to work. This article will cover the basics of FMLA, how it works, and describe the types of forms that may be required.

What Is FMLA?

FMLA is a period of 12 workweeks (unpaid) that ensures an employee's job security and guarantees uninterrupted health insurance and medical benefits to said employee. The FMLA leave covers any leave request or incapacity greater than three consecutive business days.

The Department of Labor website stipulates the following leave reasons as valid for FMLA:

  • Employee's own serious injury or medical condition that meets the qualifications and prevents them from carrying out their job
  • Military family leave
  • A child's birth
  • The time needed to bond with a child (within one year of birth or foster care/adoption placement)
  • To care for a family member's serious health condition

How the Family Medical Leave Act Works

Before attempting to file any FMLA forms, have a look at these FMLA regulations to see whether you are an eligible employee for this type of leave of absence.

Ask yourself:

  1. Have I worked for my employer for at least 12 months?
  2. Did I contribute 1,250 hours of service in the last 12 months?
  3. Do I work at a location where my employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of my worksite?

If so, you might qualify for FMLA protections that include up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

7 Types of FMLA Forms

Doctor talking to a patient

Here are some of the different FMLA forms that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) commonly issues, along with helpful information for each document to help streamline your application process. All forms mentioned below are available for download on the DOL website.

1. FMLA Form WH-380-E for Employee Health Condition

Form 380-E (known as Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition) is used by your employer to obtain a medical certification to provide your leave of absence from work.

The three sections of the form include:

  • One that your employer will complete
  • Another section for you to complete
  • A third section is for your health care provider to complete

In most cases, you receive the partially completed form from human resources with some questions about:

  • When your condition began
  • The best estimate of how long it can last
  • Whether the condition has required an overnight stay in a medical facility
  • The job duties that your condition prevents you from providing
  • Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment plan
  • Details about time off, including length and whether it will be continuous
  • Whether it requires follow-up treatment that will require you to miss work in the future

2. FMLA Form WH-380-F for Family Health Condition

If you have a seriously ill qualifying family member, use the WH-380-F form to let your employer know the particulars.

Provide information about the family member and your relation to them to help confirm your eligibility for leave. This form has the same three sections as the above WH-380-E and will ask you to confirm the amount of leave you require.

The questions are pretty similar to the above in that they request information from your family member's health care provider about:

  • The condition and when it started
  • How long it will last
  • The type of care and the schedule of care you plan to provide

This information will provide the grounds for an FMLA leave or a reduced work schedule.

3. FMLA Form WH-381 Eligibility and Rights

This form comes from your employer within a few days after you file your request for FMLA leave. The WH-381 form details all relevant information, including the dates and nature of your leave. It won't require additional input from you if your employer confirms your leave.

Otherwise, if your employer still has questions, additional steps can be taken to confirm that your request is valid. The types of steps might include:

  • Requesting additional forms to clarify the nature of your leave
  • Requesting proof of your relationship with the person you are caregiving
  • Compiling documentation of military caregiver leave
  • Following more steps to maintain your health insurance during leave
  • Requesting periodic reporting to them throughout your leave

4. FMLA Form WH-382 Designation Notice

There's nothing about the WH-382 form that you need to fill in. Instead, this form confirms your employer requires more information from you to certify your leave. For example, they may request another doctor or specialist's second opinion to verify the statements made by the initial health care provider. If your employer requests these medical inspections, they will reimburse you for the cost of the medical visits.

5. FMLA Form WH-384 for Military Family Leave

If your spouse is requested for military service and you need extra time to arrange childcare support, the WH-384 form is your best bet. The form asks for details like:

  • How long you'll be away from work, and how often
  • The name of the military member
  • Your relationship to the military member
  • The military member's active dates of duty

You will need to compile proof of the service member's duty orders or something similar to validate the request.

6. FMLA Form WH-385 for Service Member Care

Form WH-385 pertains to your request for time off to care for a service member who is ill or injured. You will provide your relationship with that person and the best estimate of your leave length.

The form will be passed to the service member's doctor to complete with any relevant details about their condition and care instructions.

7. FMLA Form WH-385-V for Veteran Caregiver Leave

If you've requested leave to care for a service member, this form can come from your employer. Form WH-385-V requests detailed information about the service member and the nature of their duty, including:

  • Date of the veteran's discharge
  • Whether the veteran was dishonorably discharged
  • Veteran's rank and branch at the time of discharge
  • Whether they're receiving medical treatment for an injury or illness

You will need to describe the type of care you intend to provide and once again pass it along to the service member's health care provider so they can complete the sections about their condition and treatment plan.

The Right Process Is Key to Your FMLA LeaveFMLA forms: entrepreneur happily working

Hopefully, the summary of these common FMLA forms has helped you realize that the process is more straightforward than daunting. Your employer or qualified health care professional will fill out the majority of the details, and your contribution is to validate your request. 

While the forms can serve as a safety net that formalizes the rights and responsibilities to one another, there are better ways to manage this information. Automating with Pulpstream, for example, can save the back and forth time wasting manual processes and increase efficiency.

Talk to your employer about requesting a demo to see how it can support the whole team in their time of need.