A new Labor Department opinion letter clarifies that you can require employees to provide new medical certification, not just recertification, for their firstabsences in a new "leave year."
allows employers to calculate years (for all employees) in one of four ways: a calendar year, any fixed 12-month period; a 12-month period starting at the employee's first FMLA absence; or a 12-month rolling period measured from the date the employee uses leave.
The new opinion letter clarifies that, once an employee's FMLA year expires, the employer can request an entirely new medical certification, not just a recertification. That opinion holds with a 1998 court ruling that said FMLA leave "cannot be taken 'forever' on the basis of one leave request."
You can also request a second and third medical opinion, as appropriate, if you have any reason to doubt the new medical certification's validity. To read the opinion letter (FMLA2005-2-A),
go to www.dol.gov/esa/whd/opinion/fmla.htm.