Skip to main content

Are employers who have less than 15 employees required to offer FMLA?

Placerville, CA |

Do employers with only a few employees have to comply with the same labor laws as larger businesses?

So, if an employer with fewer than 15 employees does not have to comply with FMLA, can we say that the employee of the >15 employee business has fewer rights than other employed people? Is there a similiar law that protects those unprotected by FMLA?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


If your reference to "labor laws" means FMLA, than the answer is no.

Pursuant to 29 USCA § 2611(4)(A)(i), private employers are covered by the FMLA if they have employed 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Keep in mind that any full-time or part-time employee whose name appears on your payroll in a calendar week is considered to be "employed" each working day of that week, whether or not the employee receives compensation.

Therefore, if you, as an employer, employ only 15 or less employees you are not subject to the FMLA.


Please see my answer to your duplicate question here:

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


Although it's commonly thought that the FMLAonly covers businesses with 50 or more employees, the test is more complicated. Sometimes, businesses are covered even if they currently have less than 50 employees, and other times they're not covered though they have more than 50 employees. So, it's not simply a matter of counting employees.

Businesses are covered by the FMLA if they:

1 - have 50 or more employees on the payroll,
2 - for at least 20 calendar weeks,
3 - in the current or the preceding calendar year.
Note: The FMLA covers elementary and secondary schools regardless of the number of people employed.

And, t0 determine if a business has 50 or more employees, everyone working in that business must be counted, whether they are part-time or full-time; temporary, leased, probationary, or permanent; or, are working in that business or in another jointly managed business.
All employees must be counted, whether they earn wages, salaries, commissions, or any combination. But, the FMLA does not count independent contractors as employees.

For the FMLA to apply, as I stated, businesses must have 50 or more employees for at least 20 weeks in a calendar year. But, the weeks need not be consecutive. However, the weeks must be in a single calendar year.

Hope this clarification of the businesses covered by the FMLA helps.

This answer is made available by the above lawyer for educational purposes only. It is also offered as a public service to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. This answer is not intended to give you specific legal advice. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. And, no attorney-client relationship has been formed. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance.

Employment topics

Recommended articles about Employment

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer