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Question: Is a remote employee eligible for FMLA?

Answer: To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must work for a covered employer and meet the following criteria:

  • have worked for that employer for at least 12 months;
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave; and
  • work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed at the location or within 75 miles of the location.

Employees who work from their home can still be covered under the FMLA even though they may work a great distance from any other employees or business locations held by the employer.

In accordance to the regulations, “An employee’s personal residence is not a worksite in the case of employees, such as salespersons, who travel a sales territory and who generally leave to work and return from work to their personal residence, or employees who work at home, as under the concept of telecommuting. Rather, their worksite is the office to which they report and from which assignments are made.”  Reference citation:  29CFR §825.111 

As a result, employers should consider the remote worker’s request for FMLA carefully, the physical office location that the remote employee reports into and receives work from as being the work location for FMLA purposes.

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