Ask the Experts: FMLA Child Bonding Leave

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Question: When an employee requests child bonding leave for an adoption, what documentation can the employer require for verification?

Answer: Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers may not request a certification for leave to bond with a healthy newborn child or a child placed for adoption or foster care. However, employers may request documentation to confirm the family relationship.

An employee may satisfy this requirement by providing either a simple statement asserting that the requisite family relationship exists, or other documentation such as a child’s birth certificate or a court document. It is the employee’s choice whether to provide a simple statement or other documentation.

Employers may not use a request for confirmation of a family relationship in a manner that interferes with an employee’s exercise or attempt to exercise his or her FMLA rights.

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