When does a telecommuter qualify for FMLA under the 50/75 rule? #HellaTrenchHR #shrm16


“This issue has been giving me FMLA nightmares!” – Said absolutely no one in HR.

Quit judging and just indulge me, would you?

Indeed, leave it Your BlognessTM to disrupt your HR-compliance world.

***Sips week-old ambrosia***

Now, kiss the ring.

***Sleeps off said ambrosia*** 

Where was I? Oh yes, reality, and getting to the point…quickly. To be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee must work for a covered employer and:

  • have worked for that employer for at least 12 months; and
  • 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.

According to the federal court in Donahoe-Bohne v. Metrohm USA, Inc. (opinion here), when considering the 50/75 rule for a telecommuter, all you need to do is refer back to the FMLA regulations:

For employees with no fixed worksite, e.g., construction workers, transportation workers (e.g., truck drivers, seamen, pilots), salespersons, etc., 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 . . . 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.

Therefore, to determine whether a telecommuter satisfies the 50/75 criteria, you look at the office to which that employee reports and from which assignments are made — even if that’s more than 75 miles from where the employee telecommutes. Tadow!

***Sips week-old ambrosia***

King me and fetch my scepter.