Re: Terminated Before FMLA
Q. We are a government contractor that will send some of our employees on international assignments that could last up to two years. When our employees work outside the United States, are they covered by the FMLA?
A. Most U.S. employees working overseas for U.S. employers are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), according to the Department of Labor (DOL).
A DOL opinion letter states: "The Department of Labor administers the FMLA only with respect to employees employed in the United States, including the District of Columbia and any territory or possession of the United States. Therefore, employees stationed full time overseas in a foreign country on one- and two-year employment contracts would not be eligible for the benefits of the FMLA while working overseas."
If your employees are assigned to any of the current U.S. territories--including American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands--they would be covered by the FMLA.
The basis for the DOL opinion letter may be found in section 29 C.F.R. [section]825.105 of the DOL regulation on the FMLA. The regulation, which outlines steps to determine whether an employer is covered under the FMLA, specifically states that the "FMLA applies only to employees who are employed within any State of the United States, the District of Columbia or any territory or possession of the United States. Employees who are employed outside these areas are not counted for purposes of determining employer coverage or employee eligibility."
Therefore, employees working outside of the United States and its territories, as described above, would not be covered by the FMLA.
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