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Are remote employees eligible for FMLA?

Now that we’ve become a “remote first” company with most of our employees working from home, we’ve started hiring remote employees in other parts of the country. We’re covered by FMLA because we have more than 50 employees—even at our headquarters alone. Will our remote employees be eligible for FMLA leave once they’ve worked the required amount of time?


Answer from Marisa, SPHR: Yes, these new remote employees will likely be entitled to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but not just yet. To be eligible for leave under the FMLA, an employee must have worked for your company for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately before their leave, and work at a worksite with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.


Unlike other situations, for purposes of FMLA, an employee’s home is not a worksite. Rather, their worksite is the office they report to or receive assignments from. So, if your remote employees report to or get their assignments from your headquarters, then they are considered to work at a worksite that has 50 or more employees. If you have multiple physical offices, you’ll need to evaluate which location would be considered each employee’s worksite, and then how many employees fall under that worksite.


Bottom line: an employee whose worksite has 50 or more employees will be eligible for FMLA leave once they’ve worked 1,250 hours and hit their one-year anniversary.

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