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Is an employee who works remotely (75 miles or more from the employer's office) eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave?

This depends on whether FMLA eligibility requirements are met. The following are the criteria for FMLA eligibility:

  1. The employee must have been employed with the company for 12 months.
  2. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave.
  3. The employer is a covered employer, and employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee's worksite. 

If the employee meets the first two requirements and the company is a covered employer, the issue then is the employee's work location. An employee who works remotely (75 miles or more from the employer's office) is covered under the FMLA if the office to which the employee reports and from which assignments are made has 50 or more employees working within 75 miles of its location. FMLA regulation 825.111, paragraph (2) applies to remote and other off-site workers. The regulation states: "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 flexiplace or telecommuting. Rather, their worksite is the office to which they report and from which assignments are made." 

In other words, home offices may not be considered the work location for FMLA purposes. Employers must consider the physical office location that these remote employees report to and receive their work from as being the work location for FMLA purposes. Thus, if the remote worker's reporting office employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, and if he or she meets the 12-month and 1,250-hour requirement, the employee is eligible for FMLA leave.


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