Is My Employer Required to Give me Time to Correct Errors in my Medical Certification?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer may request the employee to provide a medical certification of the serious health condition for which an employee is requesting FMLA leave for. Generally, the employee must provide the requested certification within 15 calendar days after the employer’s request, however an employer may provide the employee with more than 15 calendar days to return the medical certification form. A medical certification form for a serious health condition is sufficient if it states: (1) the date on which the serious health condition commenced; (2) the probable duration of the condition; (3) the appropriate medical facts regarding the condition; and, (4) if the leave is for the employee's own serious health condition, a statement that the employee is unable to perform the functions of his or her job.

Generally, when an employee requests FMLA leave, the employer will provide the employee with a medical certification form to be returned to the employer within a minimum of 15 calendar days. The employee is then required to have this medical certification form completed by their treating health care provider, or the treating health care provider of their family member with a serious health condition, and return the form to his or her employer in order to be approved for FMLA leave. Although there is a standard U.S. Department of Labor medical certification form for health care providers to complete, an employer may require the use and completion of their own medical certification form.

As with many things, human error can occur in the completion of a medical certification form and mistakes can be made by the employee or the health care provider. When an error is made on a medical certification form provided by the employee, the employer must advise the employee in writing that the medical certification form is incomplete or insufficient before denying the employee’s request for FMLA leave. The employer must also provide the employee a reasonable opportunity to cure any such deficiency, generally at least seven (7) calendar days. Therefore, your employer is required to give you notice of any errors or insufficiencies as well as time to correct any errors or insufficiencies in your FMLA medical certification form. If you were not given a reasonable time to address such errors or insufficiencies and denied FMLA leave on that basis, you may want to consult with an experienced employment lawyer.