The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees. This leave is job-protected, you can only take it once every 12 months and there are specific medical conditions or family issues that meet the eligibility criteria.
As a remote worker based in Virginia, you might question whether this law covers you.
Criteria for FMLA
For FMLA to cover any employee, whether working on-site or remotely, they must meet specific conditions:
Employer coverage. Your employer must fall under the purview of FMLA: Typically, this means the business has 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of your worksite. For remote workers, the office to which you report or from where you receive assignments is your “worksite.”
Hours of service. You must have completed at least 1,250 hours of work during the 12 months before your FMLA leave starts. For those who work a standard 40-hour week, this means roughly seven months of full-time employment.
Duration with the company. You must have been an employee with the company for a minimum of 12 months, though not necessarily consecutively.
Remote work and the “worksite” definition
Your eligibility as a remote worker in Virginia largely depends on how FMLA defines “worksite.” If you work remotely for a company with an office in Virginia and occasionally report to or get assignments from that location, then it likely qualifies as your worksite for FMLA purposes. If that location employs 50 or more people within a 75-mile radius and you meet the other FMLA criteria, you likely qualify.
But, if your company is out of state with no Virginia offices, then your worksite is likely the office from which you receive assignments or to which you report, even if that office is in another state.
Although remote work introduces some complexity, your company’s human resources department or other relevant resources can offer further clarification on your FMLA status.