Published Date: 09/02/2014
By John Gupton
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Can I require my employee to provide his or her medical records to support an FMLA leave due to a serious health condition?
No. An employee is not required to give the employer his or her medical records. The employer, however, does have a right to request that an employee provide medical certification containing sufficient medical facts to establish that a serious health condition exists.
In general, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) entitles eligible employees who work for covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of an unpaid, job-protected leave of absence in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
The employer may require the employee to submit a certification from a health care provider to support the employee’s need for FMLA leave to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition or for the employee’s own serious health condition. The employer must notify the employee each time a certification is required. The employer’s notice must be included in the written notice of FMLA rights and responsibilities given to the employee when leave is first requested.
Also, in general, the employer may request the employee to provide a recertification no more often than every 30 days and only in connection with an absence by the employee. If a certification indicates that the minimum duration of the serious health condition is more than 30 days, the employer must generally wait until that minimum duration expires before requesting recertification. However, in all cases, including cases where the condition is of an indefinite duration, the employer may request a recertification for absences every six months. The employer may request a recertification in less than 30 days only under certain circumstances.
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