Think the FMLA doesn’t apply to you? Think again

(September, 2008) You have fewer than 50 employees at your location, so the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) doesn’t apply to you, right? Not always.

The FMLA applies to companies with “50 employees within a 75-mile radius”. However, under a recent federal court ruling, where a company shares employees with one or more other companies, (including employees assigned by a placement agency), the employees of all companies may be used to calculate the total number of employees for qualifying under the FMLA.

Under the ruling, companies can be viewed as joint employers when they each exercise some control over an employee’s services. The ability to hire or fire the employee is not necessary and a company can have “control” over an employee simply by determining the rate and method of pay or the work schedule and amount of supervision needed.

Where the companies each have some control over an employee, those two companies may be deemed to be “joint employers” for purposes of the FMLA.

What does this mean for you? When sharing employees with another company, use care when an employee requests a leave of absence or another request that may trigger FMLA rights and obligations, whether or not your company alone has the 50 employees necessary to qualify under the FMLA.

For more information, please contact Susan Dawson.