Family and Medical Leave Act Medical Certification

Employers may require that an employee’s request for leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee or a covered family member be supported by a certification from a health care provider, such as a doctor, physician, or specialist.

An employee may choose to comply with the certification requirement by providing the employer with an authorization, release, or waiver allowing the employer to communicate directly with the health care provider of the employee or his or her covered family member. The employer cannot require this, though.

If the employer has any reason to doubt the validity of the employee’s certification, the employer may require the employee submit to a second or third opinion, at the employer’s expense,  concerning any information included in the original certification.

Pending the employer’s receipt of the second (or third) opinion, the employee is provisionally entitled to FMLA benefits, including maintenance of group health benefits.

If the Family and Medical Leave Act medical certification does not ultimately establish the employee's entitlement to FMLA leave, the leave shall not be designated as FMLA leave and may be treated as paid or unpaid leave under the employer's established leave policies.