This blog was written by Rochele Bertasso, Senior HR Business Partner at Helpside.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires certain employers to offer qualified employees unpaid time off for qualifying events. For your company to be covered under FMLA, you must employ 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employees’ worksite. If you have remote employees, the idea of the 75-mile radius might get a little complicated. Here are some clarifications:

What Does FMLA Provide?

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of job and benefits protected leave for employees who qualify.

What is Required Under FMLA?

Employees who qualify for FMLA coverage must:

  • Work for a covered employer
  • Work where there are 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the worksite the employee reports to and receives assignments from.
  • Work at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the leave.
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months.

Beyond these qualifiers, the employee must have a qualifying reason to use FMLA leave. Some of these reasons include pregnancy, birth of a child, adopting or fostering a child, serious or chronic health conditions for oneself or to provide care for a qualifying family member. If employees meet these requirements, employers must offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave, or 26 weeks if military exigencies apply.

What Counts as a Worksite Under FMLA?

A worksite, in the case of remote workers, is the office the employee reports to or from which assignments are made. A personal residence or home doesn’t count as a worksite. Because of this, most if not all remote employees would count toward the 50 threshold at the worksite they report to.

What if You Have No Worksite?

While uncommon, it is possible to have a business where all workers are remote and there isn’t a central location or office. At this point, the FMLA hasn’t specified whether employees can be eligible for FMLA if there is no worksite. While aren’t yet instances where employers have been penalized for not offering FMLA without a worksite, the Department of Labor has not provide an opinion on how this situation should be handled. If you happen to be in this situation, weigh the risk carefully. You always have the option to play it safe and offer FMLA if you have 50 or more employees.

FMLA compliance can get complicated. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our HR experts at humanresources@helpside.com.