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Craig Smith Discusses Labor Department’s ‘Child’ Definition in Proposed Sick Leave Rule

Bloomberg BNA’s Federal Contracts Report
March 4, 2016

Craig Smith, an attorney in Wiley Rein’s Government Contracts Practice, was quoted by Bloomberg BNA’s Federal Contracts Report in a March 1 article about the definition of “child” in the U.S. Department of Labor’s recently proposed rule on employee sick leave, and its potential impact on federal contractors.

According to the article, the recent proposal defines “child” as a biological, adopted, step- or foster son or daughter of the employee, their spouse or domestic partner; a person who is a legal ward or was a legal ward of the employee, spouse or domestic partner when that individual was a minor; or a person for whom the employee stands or has stood in loco parentis.

“The broad definitions may be an impetus for companies to look at their policies,” said Mr. Smith. He also pointed out that procedures may need to be reevaluated to determine, for example, differences between the proposed rule’s definitions and existing company definitions. “While they may not need to adjust their policies about children and parents and so on in other areas, they definitely will need to be aware of how this rule might be more expansive than the definitions they have in place,” he added.

Mr. Smith also discussed the overall recordkeeping burden imposed by the proposed rule. “It’s basically a multiyear paper trail of every time an employee asks about leave, takes leave, is told about leave — that is a substantial new burden,” Mr. Smith said. “I think the recordkeeping pain is probably going to be felt up and down” the industry regardless of company size, he added. “There are plenty of undue and unnecessary burdens to comment on and bring to the government’s attention.”