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Are telecommuters part of FMLA head count?

by on
in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees are eligible for FMLA benefits only if they meet all the requirements in the statute. They must have worked for their employer for a total of one year and at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months. The criteria don’t stop there. Employers must comply with the FMLA if they employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s workplace.

What if some of those employees work out of their homes? Ordinarily, they report to a central office somewhere. The employee count at that office and any others within 75 miles is used to calculate whether workers can take FMLA leave.

However, as more employers move to offer flexible working arrangements, employees who work from home may not actually report to such an office, but to the home office of a supervisor.

One recent case tried to sort out whether the supervisor’s home office counted. The court refused to throw out the case when the employer insisted it could use the supervisor’s home office. The case will soon go to trial.

Recent case: Laura Killion worked for Hospira Worldwide as a traveling salesperson, selling the drug Precedex in Missouri and Illinois. She claimed she had been denied FMLA leave.

Hospira argued that Killion neither reported to nor took assignments from a regional office. Instead, she reported to another Hospira employee, who worked out of her home office. Hospira argued that therefore, it did not have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of Killion’s workplace.

The court refused to buy into the argument right away. It said it needed more evidence from the company about the supervisor’s work arrangements. It wanted to know where her workplace was so that it could make a head count. (Killion v. Hospira Worldwide, No. 08-516, SD IL, 2009)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tracy Day July 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I need more clarification on telecommuters and FMLA and the lack of a “home office” I did find this article very helpful though and am looking forward to reading more of the ones you have listed.

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