Advice and Resolution Corner - FMLA - Determining Employee Eligibility

Document created by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014Last modified by 1050210 on Nov 13, 2014
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Published Date: 07/07/2014


John; Gupton

By John Gupton




How do I determine if my employee is eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave?




Benefits and protections of the FMLA apply only to eligible employees of covered employers. Therefore, the first step of determining employee eligibility is to confirm the employee works for a covered employer. Private employers with 50 or more employees during 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year are covered by the FMLA. The provisions of the FMLA apply to public employers notwithstanding their number of employees. [Note: Special rules apply to employees of local educational agencies including school boards and elementary and secondary schools under their jurisdiction, and private elementary and secondary schools.]


Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have been employed for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) and have worked at least 1,250 hours (requires actual hours worked – not paid time off) during the 12 months prior to the need for leave. In considering whether an employee has worked for the employer for 12 months, the employer must consider any time worked for the employer in the past seven years (rehires).


An employee is not eligible for FMLA where there are less than 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. This important exemption means that employees working in small offices within a covered employer may not be eligible for FMLA leave.


This question of who is eligible for FMLA is more complex than one might think. We frequently help employers with issues like temporary employees, agencies, complex business structures, etc.


For more information, attend the new Advice and Resolution Corner Plus webcast, scheduled for this July 9 (8:30 am until 9:00 am). You can self-register for this webinar at


Don’t miss this great opportunity for you to gain a better understanding of what can sometimes be a confusing FMLA issue. Also, feel free to share this link with anyone from your organization who would benefit from attending.