Q: We have employees at two small facilities in towns that are 60 miles away from each other. One facility has 10 employees and the other has 43. An employee at the 10-employee site has requested leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We don’t believe he qualifies for FMLA because each facility has less than 50 employees. Is that correct?
A: Unfortunately, no. Your employee is eligible to take leave under the FMLA, assuming he meets the other eligibility requirements (he has worked for you for 12 months and 1,250 hours in the last year). The FMLA allows an employee to take leave if he or she works at a site where 50 or more employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles of that worksite. The 50 employees within 75-mile rule can be confusing, because many people mistakenly believe that each facility within 75 miles must have at least 50 employees. Instead, the rule wants you to draw a 75-mile circle around your employee; if there is a total of 50 employees in that circle, including the employee, then the FMLA applies. If you’re unsure how to draw your 75-mile radius, use common transportation routes. You can also use Vigilant’s Legal Guide “FMLA: Eligibility Requirements” or call your Vigilant attorney.