1. Provide 30-day advance
notification when leave is foreseeable.
2. Notify as soon as practicable when leave is not
3. Make management aware that absence was or will be due to a
serious health condition, childbirth, newborn childcare, and
placement in foster care or adoption. Your notice must be within
1 or 2 business days of learning the need for leave, but no
later than 2 business days upon return to work. Notice must be
sufficient to make management aware that condition qualified as
FMLA under the Law. Notice that you are/were sick is not
4. When circumstances justifying FMLA have not been provided
by you prior to the taking of leave, ensure that management has
sufficient information, during or within 2 days following the
absence. Your designation of the leave as FMLA, while not
required, will satisfy your notice requirement pending further
inquiry by management.
5. Your completion of APWU form #1 may serve as notice of an
absence covered by FMLA and/or as your certification of a
covered FMLA condition pending management's written request for
6. Complete Form 3971 for payment of requested leave,
limiting your response to "request for leave only."
Notice of FMLA absence should be made verbally or on APWU Form
#1, with your signature. If absence is for family member, insert
their name on APWU Form #1. When responding to request for
medical documentation, use appropriate APWU form, signed by
health care provider.
7. Medical documentation should be provided only upon written
request from management. Use APWU form and have physician
respond to all relative questions. If documentation contains a
diagnosis or prognosis, you may insist that its access should be
limited to postal medical personnel.
8. Promptly inform management of any changes to FMLA
9. Prior to return to duty, you may be required by written
notice to present a certificate from your health care provider
that you are able to return to work. (After your return, you may
be required to submit to a fitness for duty.) Your return to
duty may not be delayed if you have provided prior notice of
your date of return.
10. If your absence is due to your chronic condition, which
you have documented by submitting a completed APWU form (and you
have not been referred to a USPS physician), intermittent or
reduced schedule absences related to the condition are certified
by your completion of the appropriate APWU form. No subsequent
medical documentation is required prior to the next scheduled
doctor's visit unless there is a change in your condition.
Post Form WH Publication 1420 or Form with same information
in your facility where it will come to the attention of all
employees, advising them of their rights under FMLA. The form
must remain posted at all times.
Upon being made aware that your absence is due to an FMLA
condition (yours or a family member), management must:
- Notify you of eligibility prior to the date leave starts.
If your notice of leave is less than 2 business days prior
to start of leave, supervisor has 2 days from your notice to
determine and notify of eligibility.
- Provide you with a copy of USPS Publication 71.
- Provide in writing to you:
- Specific expectations and obligations of you, including
request for medical documentation and any consequences of a
failure to meet these obligations. A supervisor's notation
(Medical documentation requested) on Form 3971 will satisfy
notice requiring documentation.
- That the leave will be counted against your 12-week
entitlement. (You may inform orally, but it must be
confirmed in writing no later than the following payday.)
Supervisor's notation of FMLA on Form 3971 is sufficient if
completed form is returned to you.
- Inform whether or not management will require the
substitution of paid leave for the absence and any
consequences for such substitution.
- Any requirement for you to make any premium payments to
maintain health benefits and the arrangement for making
- Any requirement for you to present a fitness-for-duty
certificate to be restored to duty.
- Your right to restoration to the same or equivalent
- If a written request is made for medical documentation and
you submit a complete certification signed by the health
care provider, management may not request additional medical
information. If there are further questions, a health care
provider representing USPS may contact your provider with
your permission, for purposes of clarification.
- If management questions the adequacy of your medical
certification even though you have submitted a complete
certification, they are limited to referring you to a USPS
designated physician for a second opinion. (No additional
information may be required and your supervisor/manager may
not contact your physician.)
You should follow all instructions from your supervisor and
provide all information requested. If the provisions outlined
above are violated you should contact your union representative
and initiate an appeal using the APWU appeals process,
requesting compensation for all losses and expenses incurred,
including damages equal to your expenses and losses associated
with the violation.
Family and Medical leave should not be abused. Absences that
do not qualify under the law should be covered under the normal
USPS leave policy.
Prepared by: William Burrus, Executive Vice President,
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO