How employers are using 'enhanced' FMLA fitness-for-duty
- Physicians have been signing basic “ready to return to work” notes for their patients when medical leaves end. But employers can ask for more details under the FMLA’s “enhanced” fitness-for-duty certification, reports HR Morning.
- The rules for “enhanced” fitness-for-duty certification require employers to notify workers that they must complete the certification process before returning to work. The notice must list the essential job functions, be given to the employee as soon as leave is approved and be reviewed by the care provider. Also, companies must have a uniform policy for administering the certification process, which apply to all similarly situated workers.
- “Enhanced” fitness-for-duty certification has already been challenged in the courts. A Milford, CT, municipal worker quit her job because the town required her to complete the “enhanced” certification process before returning to work. She sued the town, arguing that it undermined her rights under the FMLA.
The town’s counter argument was that her certification notice didn’t state whether she could perform the essential duties of her job. The court ruled in the town’s favor, stating that it had the right to request certification and that it followed all the rules in the process.
As more regulations are soon to come with FLSA and FMLA, notably the overtime rule for FLSA, employers will want to be wary.