When Does the FMLA Apply to Connected Businesses?

MN Family and Medical Leave Act

What is the FMLA and who does it cover?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) requires covered employers to allow eligible employees a total of 12-weeks of leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child;
  • the care of a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job.

The FMLA applies to employers that employ fifty (50) or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more weeks in a calendar year.[1] An employee under the FMLA includes both full-time and part-time employees.

Can legally separate entities be a single “employer” for FMLA purposes?

Yes. Legally separate entities will be deemed to be parts of a single employer for purposes of the FMLA if they meet the integrated employer test.[2] Facts considered in determining whether two or more entities are integrated employer include:

  • common management;
  • interrelation between operations;
  • centralized control of labor relations;
  • and degree of common ownership and financial control.[3]

Where this test is met, the employees of all entities making up the integrated employer will be counted in determining employer coverage and employee eligibility.[4]

Additionally, where two or more businesses exercise some control over the work or working conditions of the employee, the businesses may be joint employers under the FMLA.[5] Joint employers may be separate and distinct entities with separate owners, managers, and facilities.[6] Yet, where the employee performs work which simultaneously benefits two or more employers, or works for two or more employers at different times during the workweek, a joint relationship generally will be considered to exist.[7] For instance, joint employment will ordinarily be found to exist when a temporary placement agency supplies employees to a second employer.[8]

[1] 29 C.F.R. § 825.104(a).

[2] 29 C.F.R. § 825.104(c)(2).

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] 29 C.F.R. § 825.106(a).

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] 29 C.F.R. § 825.106(b)(1).

Leave a Public Comment