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Medical Certifications

Employers are permitted to request medical certification from those employees who wish to be granted FMLA leave, but they must allow employees at least 15 calendar days to obtain the proper medical certification, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

For certain requests, employers are also permitted to acquire a second medical certification from a healthcare professional. If he or she wishes to do so, the employer may choose the healthcare provider for the second opinion.

If the opinions of the employee's and the employer's selected healthcare professionals differ, the employer to require the employee to obtain a third certification from a third and different healthcare provider. The third opinion is the final step that is permitted to be taken, and the third healthcare professional should be mutually agreed upon by both the employer and the employee.

Healthcare providers who choose to provide an employee with medical certification of a serious health condition must be authorized to practice medicine under the laws of the United States and specifically under the laws of the state in which they practice in.

As long as they are properly authorized, healthcare providers who qualify as a valid source consist of:

  • Orthopedic surgeons
  • Podiatrists
  • Dentists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Optometrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse-midwives
  • Clinical social workers
  • Christian Science practitioners

In addition, any healthcare provider who is recognized by the employer or the employer's group health plan's benefits manager is included as a legitimate source for a medical certification.