FMLA Changes to USPS Form 3971


The postal service has developed a new form 3971, notification of Absence, for employees to use when making leave requests.

The most significant changes deal with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests. Employees should pay close attention to the back of the Form 3971, which now includes a section allowing employees to alert the Postal Service that their absence may be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. If the leave request relates to an ongoing FMLA condition, the employee should notate the FMLA case number to speed up the handling of the leave request. If it is for a new FMLA condition, the employee should check the appropriate box, which will trigger the issuance of the forms the employee needs for the USPS to process and evaluate their FMLA eligibility and coverage. The new form now includes all categories of potential FMLA coverage, including provisions relating to family members in the military that were implemented in 2008 and 2010.

With the advent of the new form, local management is no longer a part of the FMLA approval process. The USPS has assigned that authority to Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC), which is located in Greensboro, NC.

All communication and documentation related to FMLA should be directed to HRSSC. The FMLA information packets employees receive will provide contact information and guidelines.

Employees should still follow the normal call-in procedures when reporting absences. However, if the absence is potentially a FMLA request, the determination will be made by HRSSC.

Employees should not include medical information on the Form 3971; there is a notation on the back of the new Form 3971 reminding them of that fact.




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