January 06, 2021
In a December 29, 2020 Field Assistance Bulletin, the Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed that employees can use FMLA leave for telehealth visits, provided they meet the following criteria:
- Visits must be for examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider;
- Visits must be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and
- Generally, visits should be performed by video conference.
The DOL also suggested that there are limited circumstances when other types of visits (such as telephone calls) might qualify for FMLA leave. However, these circumstances likely will vary between locations and providers.
There is no sunset date for this guidance, and the guidance is not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, the DOL established that employees could not use FMLA leave for telehealth visits but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, made an exception for telehealth visits through 2020.
The DOL also provided guidance on posting requirements under the FMLA, Fair Labor Standards Act, and other federal laws.
We recommend that employers review and amend their FMLA policies, procedures, and documents to include telehealth visits as permissible uses of FMLA leave. We will keep our members updated on any new recommendations and guidance.
We will discuss the above guidance and other recent developments in our next regulatory and compliance webinar on January 21, 2021 at 12:30PM ET. Members can register here.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these or other regulatory and compliance issues, please contact us.
We provide this material for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for legal advice.