Our third-party disability management company, Sedgwick, is the administrator for leaves taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
When you take leave to care for a family member (or nearest blood relative in the case of covered servicemember leave), Sedgwick may require you to provide documentation or a statement of family relationship. In addition, to support the request for FMLA leave, you may be required to submit medical certification indicating that a serious health condition exists for you or your family member (or, in the case of covered servicemember leave, nearest blood relative).
If you are requesting military exigency leave, you may be required to provide a copy of the active duty orders or other reasonable documentation. If you request covered servicemember leave, you may be required to provide a special certification from an authorized health care provider.
Certification for medical leaves
If you are requesting medical leave either to take care of your own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you must provide medical certification indicating that a serious health condition exists and other information as requested within 21 days of requesting leave. The certification needs to include all of the following:
- Date on which you began experiencing the serious health condition.
- Probable duration of the condition.
- Appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition, including symptoms, doctor visits, whether medication has been prescribed, a diagnosis of the particular condition involved, and a brief description of the prescribed regimen of treatment.
- Indication of whether hospitalization is required.
- For your own illness or serious health condition, a statement that you cannot perform the essential functions of your job as well as the nature of any other work restrictions, and the likely duration of such inability.
- Signature of the physician or other health care provider.
Additional information may be required
If the leave is requested in order to care for a family member with a serious health condition, the certification must state that you are needed to care for the family member and provide an estimate of the amount of time you will be needed to provide care or assistance. If Sedgwick determines that the certification is incomplete or insufficient, Sedgwick will request additional information from you in writing and allow you typically seven days to provide the requested information. If you do not provide the requested information within that time frame, your leave may be delayed.
If Sedgwick has reason to request more information about your initial certification or needs clarification they may (1) contact your health care provider in an effort to clarify or authenticate the initial certification, and/or (2) require you to obtain a second opinion by an independent provider at Vanguard's expense. If the initial and second certifications differ, Sedgwick may, at Vanguard's expense, require you to obtain a third, final, and binding certification from a health care provider jointly selected by you and Vanguard. You may be required to authorize the release of relevant background medical information as part of the clarification process.
Recertification and status changes
During leave, Sedgwick may request that you provide recertification of a serious health condition at intervals according to FMLA rules. In addition, during leave, you must provide Sedgwick with periodic reports regarding your status and intent to return to work.
If your anticipated return to work date changes and it becomes necessary for you to take more or less leave than originally planned, you must provide Sedgwick with reasonable notice (i.e., within two business days) of your changed circumstances and new return-to-work date. If you give notice of your intent not to return to work, you will be considered to have voluntarily resigned.
Returning to work
Before you return to work from FMLA leave for your own serious health condition, you may be required to submit a return-to-work certification from your health care provider stating that you are able to resume work. If the certification requires the health care provider to confirm that you are able to perform certain job functions, you will be given a list of essential job functions for your position at the time designation notice is provided.
If you are on nonintermittent leave, Vanguard reserves the right to delay reinstatement until you submit the required return-to-work certification and terminate you at the conclusion of your FMLA leave if the required certification has not been submitted by that time. FMLA leave or return to work may be delayed or denied if the appropriate documentation is not provided in a timely manner.