The DOL’s model FMLA forms and notices are about to turn into the proverbial pumpkin come midnight this Friday, June 1, 2018.

So, what is an employer to do? Besides panic, of course?

What’s Going on and Why Do These Forms Expire Anyway?

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the DOL is required to submit its FMLA forms every three years to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval, so that OMB can review the DOL’s information requests and ensure the process isn’t too bureaucratic.  [Cough….cough…]

OMB last approved the DOL’s slightly tweaked FMLA forms in 2015 for the maximum period of three years. Upon expiration of the forms (in this case, Thursday, May 31), the DOL may continue to use the current forms while it seeks renewal of OMB’s approval.

Can Employers Expect Any Changes in the New Forms?  And Should Employers Use the Expired FMLA Forms in the Meantime?

Earlier this week, I connected with Helen Applewhaite, the DOL’s Branch Chief for FMLA (in other words, the federal government’s Grand Poobah of all things FMLA), to get the skinny on the proposed new forms.  Helen confirmed several items of importance to employers:

  1. Earlier this year, DOL filed an extension request with OMB to renew the forms without any proposed changes.
  2. In the event that OMB does not finish its review of the proposed forms by the deadline, it will automatically extend the expiration date of the forms on a month-by-month basis.
  3. As OMB extends the deadline on a month-by-month basis (until it completes its review), DOL will do the same and change the date on its forms every 30 days until OMB has had its say.  In fact, DOL updated its forms today to now expire on June 30, 2018.  

So, use the current forms. They’re good to go, and they almost certainly will go unchanged for another three years.

The DOL’s forms–with the May 31, 2018 expiration date–can be accessed here:

But Jeff, I Can’t Sleep at Night Till I Know The OMB Has Made a Decision.  How Can I Find Out When OMB Has Made a Decision?

If that’s the case, I’m sorry. You have my affliction, but I admire you for it. You are welcome to maintain this link in your Internet favorites and keep searching until OMB makes a decision. You will need to search using the control number for the FMLA forms, which is 1235-0003.  You will find something that looks like this: