FMLA Recordkeeping Requirements

Following our blog on FMLA Counting Methods,  now that you have determined which counting method is best for your organization it is important to maintain all FMLA records properly. The Family & Medical Leave Act adheres to specific recordkeeping requirements to follow for each employee.  Maintaining a consistent recordkeeping process is vital to stay in compliance with federal laws. It is the burden of the employer to establish who is eligible for FMLA and manage their records accordingly in the event they are needed for proof of eligibility, an audit or possibly needed for a court case.

Below is a synopsis of the FMLA’s record-keeping requirements:

  • Maintain the records in any manner that suits organization policy (i.e., hard copies or electronic records) however, they must be capable of being readily reviewed or copied.
  • The records must contain basic payroll data detailing the employee’s compensation, such as schedule, pay and garnishments.
  • If the employee’s leave amounts to less than a full work day (which is common with intermittent FMLA leave), you’re required to document the number of hours taken.
  • Maintain copies of any written notices you receive from the employee and copies of all written notices you give to the employee. Copies with no medical information can be kept in the employee’s personnel file. (i.e. Designation Notice, Rights & Responsibilities)
  • Medical records, including medical certifications, recertifications and medical histories, must be kept separately from the employee’s personnel file to protect their privacy. (EAF members, see our HR Records Retention Guide for more details)
  • Other general documentation that must be maintained includes descriptions of employee benefits and policies, and practices regarding paid and unpaid leave, plus the amount of premium payments made for employee benefits.
  • Records of any dispute between the employer and employee regarding designation of FMLA leave, including any written statement from the employer or employee of the reasons for the designation and for the disagreement.
  • FMLA Records must be kept for a minimum three years and be available for inspection, copying and transcription by representatives of the DOL. (Note: any medical records must be kept for the duration of employment, plus a minimum 30 years, as defined by OSHA.)
  • Any reproductions of records must be clear and identifiable by date or pay period.


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