Your Guide to DOL’s Latest Guidance on Telework, Lactation Breaks, and FMLA Eligibility for Remote Employees
Are you an employer of employees who telework, or employees who needs breaks for lactation? Then you’ll want to read this update! The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently released Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2023-1, which covers several important topics for teleworkers and their employers. Let’s take a look:
First, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on telework and lactation breaks.
If you’re a teleworking employee, it’s essential to ensure that you’re paid correctly for all the hours you work, including short rest breaks. If you need to take breaks to express milk, the FLSA doesn’t require your employer to compensate you for those breaks, but if they do provide paid breaks, you should be compensated for the time you spend expressing milk during those breaks. And if you attend a video meeting or conference call, even if you’re off-camera, you should also receive pay for that time.
As a reminder, lactating employees are also entitled to a private space that’s free from intrusion, other than a bathroom, to express milk under the PUMP Act. More information about this new law including FAQs, can be found here.
How about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
Under the FMLA, all the hours you work – including those you telework from home – are counted to determine your eligibility. To be eligible, you’ll also need to work at a location where your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles. But here’s the thing – your personal residence doesn’t count as a worksite. Your eligibility will depend on some aspects of your job. For example, where do you report for work? Where is the office where you get your assignments? You could establish either of these locations as your workplace, and then the worksite threshold will apply.
Remember, your teleworking employees are entitled to the same protections under the FLSA and FMLA as employees who work in an office, factory, or any other worksite location. Stay informed and stay protected!