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FMLA: The 50/20 Rule

Question:

I know that in order to follow the rules of FMLA, a private sector employer needs to have 50 employees for 20 or more weeks a year. I’m wondering how part time employees factor into this number; we currently have 34 full-time employees. We also hire a large number of seasonal workers: about 30 as of today. However, of those 30, 11 are year round part-time. Does a part time employee count towards the 50? Is it dependent on how many hours per week they work?

Answer:

According to the Department of Labor 29 CFR 825.105

A private employer is covered if it maintained 50 or more employees on the payroll during 20 or more calendar workweeks (not necessarily consecutive workweeks) in either the current or the preceding calendar year.

So an employee on payroll during the year, whether they work one hour or 40, counts as “an employee.” You will need to look at your total number of employees per week (both full-time and part-time) to see if you meet the 50 in 20 rule.

Once a private employer meets the 50 employees / 20 workweeks threshold, the employer remains covered until it reaches a future point where it no longer has employed 50 employees for 20 (nonconsecutive) workweeks in the current and preceding calendar year. For example, if an employer who met the 50 employees / 20 workweeks test in the calendar year as of September 1, 2008, subsequently dropped below 50 employees before the end of 2008 and continued to employ fewer than 50 employees in all workweeks throughout calendar year 2009, the employer would continue to be covered throughout calendar year 2009 because it met the coverage criteria for 20 workweeks of the preceding (i.e., 2008) calendar year.

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