Why require a fitness-for-duty certification?

Hi Everyone,

I am currently wading through the implementation an FMLA plan/program for my employer since this year we have become subject to the Act. In finalizing our policy, we've been wrestling with whether or not we want to require a fitness for duty certificate when the employee returns to work. (If we do want to require one, under which circumstances?) I realize that if we have a policy regarding FFD certs, we have to have a "uniformly-applied policy or practice that requires all similarly-situated employees" to present the FFD certification before returning to work.

My question is, what is the potential harm to the employer if we do not require a fitness for duty certification?

Thanks as always for your feedback!


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You will have employees who can't afford to be off work insisting on coming back even if they are not ready. Picture this: your employee isn't ready, comes back to work and either can't keep up, isn't thinking clearly so makes a gazillion mistakes, or faints and hurts themselves (or someone else). Your FFD will help protect you from a lawsuit.
  • In my opinion it becomes a safety issue. You cannot trust an employee to be completely honest with you regarding their medical condition and their ability to RTW after an illness/injury (especially if it unpaid leave) and if you do not require something from the health care provider verifying they are able to RTW, you are exposing both that EE and possibly other EEs to safety issues.

    We require FFDs whenever an EE is off work for three or more consecutive workdays due to illness or injury. Now with the new regs I attach a copy of their job description and require the HCP to complete the form using their job description - very helpful!!
  • Our policy is the same as Linda's. I hate that "aggravated by" phrase in worker's comp law.
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