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Special General Memorandum 91-2


Department of Health and Human Services USA logo
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service
     Indian Health Service
 Rockville MD 20857

SGM 91-02

APR 4, 1991

TO: All Headquarters Employees

FROM: Director

SUBJECT: Children in the Workplace

The Indian Health Service (IHS) recently received a legal opinion from the Office of General Counsel concerning the potential liability to the Federal Government if an employee's child who has accompanied the parent to work is injured in the agency's facilities.

Federal employees who are injured while in the performance of duties are compensated pursuant to the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), 5 U.S.C. Chapter 81.  This Act provides the exclusive remedy for such injuries.  If an employee brings a child to the workplace, that child is not covered by FECA and if injured in federally occupied space could bring a claim against the Federal government pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Considering the range of possible injuries that children could suffer at the worksite, especially when the parent is working and not providing careful supervision of the child's activities, there is a real possibility of liability to the Federal government if such a practice were permitted.

Therefore, it is the policy of IHS that Headquarters employees are not permitted to bring children to the worksite during work hours.  Exceptions to this policy are permitted under the most unusual circumstances and with written approval of the employee's Associate Director.  While we must be sensitive to our employees' day-care difficulties, we cannot permit children to remain at the worksite because of the legal liability of permitting such a practice.  Managers and supervisors should be liberal in granting annual leave to employees who need to make emergency day-care arrangements when unforeseen problems arise.

/Everett R. Rhoades, M.D./
Everett R. Rhoades, M.D.
Assistant Surgeon General

Department of Health and Human Services USA logo
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service
     Indian Health Service
 Rockville MD 20852

Office of the Secretary
Office of the General Counsel
Business and Administrative
Rm. 5362 Cohen Bldg.
Washington, DC 20201

SEP 18, 1990

MEMORANDUM

TO: James P. Murray, Director
Division of Personnel Management

FROM: Timothy A. White, Chief
Litigation Branch /(initialed by TAW)/

SUBJECT: Potential Liability - Children in the Workplace

This is in reply to your informal request for advice whether there is any potential liability to the Government if an employee's child who accompanies the parent to work is injured in agency facilities.

As you know federal employees, who are injured while in the performance of duty are compensated pursuant to the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA), 5 U.S.C. Chapter 81.  That Act provides the exclusive remedy for such injuries.  However, if an employee brings a child to the workplace, that child is not covered by FECA and if injured in federally occupied space could bring acclaim against the Government pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act.  Considering the range of possible injuries that could be suffered by children at the worksite (especially when the parent is working and not providing careful supervision of the activities of the child) there is a real possibility of liability to the Government if such a practice is permitted.

MAY 1, 1991


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