FMLA Eligibility and Telecommuters

FMLA Family Business - telecommute Businesswoman and mother with kid is making a phone call. At the workplace, together with a small child
Elga Lejarza-Penn

Telecommuting is becoming a popular work arrangement in which the employee works outside the office, often from home. Just as popular telecommuting is becoming so is the question “Are employees working from home eligible for FMLA“?

A lot of people believe that if there is not at least 50 employees within a 75 miles radius from the employee’s residence that the answer is NO. But that is incorrect. Why? Because for FMLA eligibility requirement:

  • An employee’s personal residence is not a worksite. For employees who work from home under “telework” or “flexi-place” arrangements, or other employees, such as salespersons who may leave to work from and return to their residence, the worksite is the office to which they report or from which they receive assignments.
  • For employees with no fixed worksite, such as construction workers, transportation workers, and airline flight crew employees, the site to which they report, from which their work is assigned, or the location to which they are assigned as their home base, is their worksite.

This means that home offices may not be considered the work location for FMLA purposes. The physical office location that these remote employees report to and receive their work from are considered the work location for FMLA eligibility purposes. For example, the employee may be the only employee working in the state of North Dakota but reports or gets the assignment instructions from an office in Miami, FL. If the office in Miami employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, and the remote employee meets the 12-month and 1,250-hour requirement, then the employee is definitely eligible for FMLA leave. Yes, the employee will be eligible, regardless that there are not 49 other employees within a 75 miles radius from the employee’s residence.

If you would like to learn more about FMLA and ADA please join me in person or live stream at one of my 2-Day FMLA, ADA and PDA Certificate Programs.

Elga Lejarza-Penn, aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP

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