We’ve recently seen an increase in the number of FMLA “Health Care Provider” certifications that are completed by chiropractors.  As many of you know, the FMLA grants eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for several reasons, including a serious health condition.  An employer is permitted to request a certification from an employee’s health care provider to verify that the employee does indeed have a serious health condition  Many school districts and other employers have been accepting these certifications from chiropractors without realizing that it is very rare that such a certification must be accepted.

Although many people seek treatment from chiropractors for very serious injuries and ailments, the Department of Labor has concluded that a chiropractor is not to be considered a health care provider unless the treatment provided consists of “manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation.”  This diagnosis must also be demonstrated by an X-ray to exist.

This means that school districts and other employers are not required to accept FMLA certifications from chiropractors unless an employee has seen the chiropractor for this one specific reason.  We’ve found that many clients mistakenly accept certifications from chiropractors for many other ailments.  So, the next time you see a FMLA Health Care Provider certification from a chiropractor you will likely be able to refuse to accept it unless it is for the limited treatment and diagnosis of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation.  The certification must also indicate that such a diagnosis was confirmed to exist by an X-ray.

For more information on this topic and a list of other health care providers that can complete FMLA Health Care Provider certifications, please see the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at: