FMLA For Remote Employees

Good morning, everyone! I started thinking about my remote employees this morning (because who doesn't think about FMLA each day??), and started to question their eligibility. Here are the details...

--Remote employees are located in states where we do not have a worksite, but do business (for example, regional sales reps).
--The employees often do business from a home office, from the road, or from a rented office space (essentially a storefront).
--Sometimes the remote employees visit a physical worksite for training, meetings, etc., but do not have an established desk/cubicle/office at those locations.
--In none of these states do we have 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

This being said, my gut tells me these individuals would not qualify for protection under this correct, or am I way off base?


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I don't think I have enough information to draw a firm conclusion, but the regulation that addresses this issue is 29 C.F.R. 825.111(a)(2). The issue you need to consider is what is the "worksite" for these employees. The answer may be different depending on each specific employee's circumstances.

    Section 812.111(a)(2) says: "For employees with no fixed worksite [and it gives the example of salespeople], the "worksite" is the site to which they are assigned as their home base, from which their work is assigned, or to which they report." So if, for example, you have 50 or more salespeople spread out all over the Southwest and they all report to an office in Atlanta, then they would all be eligible for leave no matter how far they are from each other or from the office to which they report. That is my interpretation of the regulation, anyway.

    I hope this helps.

    Julie Athey
    Author - FMLA Compliance Practical Solutions for HR
    Editor - FMLA Compliance Bulletin
  • We have a similar situation with salespeople spread all over the country. When I contacted DOL years ago about this they told me if the employment records were kept at our home office and typically the employees came to the office once or twice a year, they would be included in the count of employees to establish if we were subject to FMLA law and would be eligible to claim it. I'm not sure if this is still the DOL stance on it, but I am still following that information.
  • That definitely makes sense in your situation, but for us, I guess this is just one of those gray areas of FMLA. I took a look at 29 C.F.R. 825.111(a)(2) as Julie suggested, but the person all the sales people actually report to/receive assignments from is another remote employee (he lives in CA), and doesn't have an assigned office.

    Reminds me of how much I despise FMLA law.....
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