The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a field assistance bulletin (FAB) on February 9, 2023, to clarify the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (FMLA’s) hours-of-service eligibility requirement for teleworkers, as well as the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to nonexempt remote workers. On the same day, the DOL also explained in an opinion letter the same day that eligible employees with serious health conditions who require reduced work schedules may indefinitely use available FMLA leave.
When a remote employee works from home, the employee’s worksite for FMLA eligibility purposes is the office to which the worker reports or from which assignments are made. So, if 50 employees are employed within 75 miles of the worksite, the employees meet that FMLA eligibility requirement. For employees who do not have a fixed worksite, the worksite should (consistent with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), be the site to which they are assigned as their home base, from which their work is assigned or to which they report.
In Opinion Letter 2023-1-A, issued the same day, the DOL reminded employers that they should consider their legal obligations under the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when considering employees’ requests to work a reduced schedule. Once an employee has used up their 480-hour allotment of hours under FMLA, an employer cannot reject a request for reduced schedule leaves under the FMLA by stating that it must be addressed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Both FMLA and ADA obligations are triggered when there is a request for reasonable accommodation.