How Often Can an Employer Make You Recertify Your FMLA Paperwork?

Family visiting the mother in the hospital, holding hands
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Family visiting the mother in the hospital, holding hands

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows a worker to take up to 12 weeks each year in unpaid medical leave if she must be absent from her job for health reasons or to care for a sick family member. Employers have the right to require certification from a health care provider before granting FMLA medical leave. In addition, employers may ask for recertification periodically.

Frequency of Recertification

Employers usually can ask for recertification of FMLA medical leave as often as every 30 days, provided the request is made in connection with absence from work. If the original certification stated that more than 30 days leave was needed, the employer usually has to wait the longer period. The employer may require recertification in fewer than 30 days only when a worker wants a leave extension, the employer has good reason to question the appropriateness of the original leave request, or the circumstances of the original FMLA medical leave change.

Recertification Rules

When an employer requests recertification, it can ask for the same information provided by the original certification. In addition, an employer may ask if the employee’s absences are appropriate for his medical situation. Employers cannot contact health care providers directly except to clarify information on the recertification form or to verify its authenticity. The worker must pay the cost of recertification, take the form to the health care provider and return the completed form to the employer, generally within 15 days.

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