Children in the workplace and in the classroom instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction informs management, staff and students of their rights and responsibilities regarding bringing their children into the University in an emergency situation.

This instruction applies to all staff and students.

Exclusions

The arrangements outlined in the instruction are not intended to provide an alternative to on-going child care.

Instruction steps and actions

The University recognises the need for students to bring children to classes or the need for staff to bring their children to work in emergency situations.

However, when children are introduced to environments that are not designed to cater for them, issues of safety, supervision, productivity and liability arise.

For staff, the University provides carer’s leave amongst other forms of leave, which can be utilised to care for a child. Students should refer to the University’s policy on special consideration in cases where family responsibilities impinge on academic requirements.

The following instruction has been developed to protect the interests of children of employees, students and the University:

1. A staff member wishing to bring a child to their place of work for a period of more than one hour must first seek permission from the relevant supervisor. A student wishing to bring a child to a lecture, tutorial or other class must first seek permission from the relevant lecturer. The supervisor/lecturer should treat requests flexibly and sensitively.

2. Factors to be taken into account by a caregiver when considering bringing children on to campus in emergency situations are - the age of the child(ren); the nature and location of the class/workplace; the degree of possible interference and disruption to other staff/students and occupational, health and safety issues.

3. Where children are brought on to University premises or to any approved fieldwork activity, they must be supervised by the caregiver at all times. The responsibility for the child(ren) rests solely with the caregiver, and other staff or students must not be asked to look after the child(ren).

4. The University has a general duty to protect persons from unreasonable risk or harm, which may be a result of ‘lack of control of the conduct of others’. Supervisors have a responsibility for ensuring that staff and students who bring children on to campus are aware of the issues involved.

In particular

  • Children, with or without an adult, must not be allowed into hazardous areas such as laboratories, workshops, construction sites or plant rooms at any time.
  • A child brought into the University precincts must be under the direct supervision of the caregiver at all times. Responsibility for all aspects of the child’s behaviour rests solely with the caregiver and responsibility for any damage caused by a child rests with the parent/guardian.
  • Children with significant communicable medical conditions, for example, chickenpox, head lice or conjunctivitis are not permitted in a place of work, teaching or fieldwork activity
  • When bringing children into the workplace, the needs of other staff/students should be recognised and addressed.

5. Where a risk or issue is identified, or the supervisor has reason to believe that the child is not being appropriately supervised and/or a child’s behaviour is disruptive to other staff or students, the supervisor has the right to request that the caregiver remove the child from the work or study area.

6. The University will ensure that staff who need a private space for breastfeeding, expressing milk or changing nappies can have access to reasonably accessible facilities for this purpose on campus.

[Next: Supporting documents and information]