The Proper Mailing Method of FMLA Certifications

Standard U.S. mail is still looked upon as a reliable service. Nevertheless, employers without dependable third-party administration find it challenging to identify a mailing process that fully complies with DOL (The Department of Labor) regulations. This is fortunately not the case for BASIC’s employers. BASIC’s standardized mailing process, “Certificate of Mailing,” provides evidence that the U.S. Post Office received specific pieces of mail which are deemed delivered unless returned. And while the receipt of these mailings can always be challenged by an employee, BASIC’s administrative process gives employers key data (system/process, date of mailing, content of mailing and follow up mailings) to consistently prove mailings were sent in accordance with the DOL’s regulations.

Certified Mail (not to be confused with Certificate of Mailing) sounds good on paper, but it is not practical for a few reasons …

  1. Cost.
  2. Certified Mailings often times are not delivered (employees are sometimes not home to sign when the mail is delivered and will often ignore pickup notices from the post office).
  3. Someone in the household may sign for it, and the employee can still say they did not receive it or personally sign for it.

BASIC’s Reasonable Assurance and Confidence of Certificate of Bulk Mail receipt …

  1. It is still a reasonable expectation that the U.S. Post Office will deliver timely to the address provided or return to the mailing party when U.S. mailings are undeliverable.
  2. The Certificate of Mailing will identify the date the mailing was sent to an employee.
  3. BASIC’s records, systems and processes are utilized to assure FMLA compliance and can identify what was sent to what address and when.
  4. BASIC documents dates and what was mailed with regard to all correspondence (which includes appropriate language) in follow up mailings to employees.
  5. Court cases have determined that email is not a reliable delivery method for FMLA documentation.

Our Recommendation: Proactive Steps by the Employer … Below is a good policy recommendation for employers to follow:

  1. Employer to put in place an employee “Change of Address Notification Policy” if one does not exist already.
  2. Requires employees to notify Human Resources within 72 hours (recommended) of a change of address on a new home/mailing address.
  3. Purpose is for W-2 mailings, employer mailings and payroll record updates (which include FOC & Garnishments, etc.).
  4. Periodic notice to employees (annually) for this policy.
  5. Identify/document & audit an internal employer policy/process to update payroll & HRIS records when receiving an employee Change of Address Notification.

BASIC’s recommendation above makes good business sense and additionally provides a fallback position. If an employee fails to notify the employer regarding a change of address (timely/if at all), the employee is not following company policy.

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