As remote work becomes more prevalent in California, understanding your rights as a home-based employee is vital. One area that can cause confusion is the applicability of the Family Medical Leave Act to remote workers.
The flexibility of remote work is a significant draw for many employees, but what happens when you need to take extended leave for health or family reasons? The FMLA provides for these circumstances.
FMLA rights apply to remote employees
In California, FMLA rights extend to remote workers. The primary criteria to qualify for FMLA leave are not based on where you perform your job, but on factors such as how long you have worked for your employer, the size of your company, and whether you have worked a certain number of hours in the past year.
Assessment of FMLA eligibility
To be eligible for FMLA in California, you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months. These months do not have to be consecutive, but you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding the leave. The employer must also employ 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. In the case of remote workers, the “worksite” is typically the site to which they report.
Issues for remote workers
While remote workers have the same FMLA rights as on-site workers, they may face challenges when attempting to use these rights. The requirement that an employer has 50 employees within a 75-mile radius could be problematic for remote employees living a significant distance from the company’s physical locations. However, these employees should remember that the FMLA applies to them as long as they meet the criteria.
If you work from home in California and meet the eligibility requirements, you have the right to take FMLA leave. This provision allows you to manage your health and family obligations without fear of losing your job, no matter where you choose to do your work.