Content

Children on Campus Policy and Procedure

Policy overview

1 Purpose

Many University Employees and students combine parenting and work or educational responsibilities and this may result in situations where Children may be on campus. There are also a large number of other circumstances that result in Children visiting the University's campuses.

This policy and procedure outlines the University's approach to ensuring that Employees, students and visitors are not unfairly disadvantaged or discriminated against because of their parental responsibilities, while also ensuring that reasonable steps are taken to protect the study and work environment of others at the University, and to protect the University's assets and reputation. The policy and procedure also considers health and safety issues and other legislative responsibilities associated with Children being on campus.

2 Scope

This policy and procedure applies to situations involving all Employees, students and visitors to the University, with the following exceptions:

  • short visits, for example as might occur when family groups arrive to provide an Employee with a lift home, or to drop items off for an Employee;
  • Children accompanying Employees performing University business off-campus (excluding a consideration of research and field trips);
  • formally organised supervised visits such as school excursions or Children involved in work experience activities;
  • approved activities involving Children organised on-campus such as performing arts activities (including rehearsals), play groups, Psychology Clinic, Summer or Winter Schools, or similar activities organised by the University;
  • Children attending other organised activities such as University open days, music or theatre performances, arts exhibitions or University functions;
  • activities involving Children undertaken by external agencies on property owned by the University, such as the crèche and vacation care organised by the Student Guild at the Clive Berghofer Recreation Centre or the activities of the Mirambeena Child Care Centre;
  • Children attending functions organised by external agencies in hired University facilities; and
  • other formally organised school visits.

However, in these instances the expectation of the University is that Employees organising such visits must ensure that adequate supervision and protection against hazards are provided. Employees should seek advice from USQSafe to assist them to identify hazards and to provide appropriate controls and levels of supervision.

3 Policy Statement

The University of Southern Queensland seeks to support Employees and students who find it necessary to bring a child into work or classroom situations provided that:

  • the basis for the child's visit is as a result of an unexpected and temporary breakdown in normal childcare arrangements, or is required to enable the parent to maintain regular breastfeeding of the child
  • the visit is approved by a person with the appropriate authority
  • the student or Employee accepts responsibility for supervising the child at all times during the period of the child's visit to the campus
  • the child does not cause a significant disturbance to the integrity of the work or study environment concerned.

4 Procedures

4.1 Responsibilities of the University

  • To provide a healthy and safe environment which is conducive to study and work for all Employees, students and visitors, and to comply with legislative requirements, including all provisions and requirements of the University's Alcohol and Drugs on University Sites Policy and Procedure.
  • To take reasonable steps to assist Employees, students and visitors who may have special needs to enable access to an appropriate range of facilities and services.

4.2 Responsibilities of people bringing Children into the University

  • To provide direct supervision at all times to Children in their care.
  • To take reasonable steps to safeguard the health and safety of the Children in their care while on campus.
  • To consider the potential risk to the health and safety of others that may arise when Children are brought into the University environment and to take reasonable steps to safeguard against risks.
  • To be responsible for the behaviour of the Children in their care, so as not to inconvenience, disrupt or endanger Employees, students or other visitors.

In general, all Children visiting the campus must be under the supervision of a responsible adult. The supervising adult is responsible for the behaviour and supervision of the child and must ensure that minimal disturbance is caused. Supervising adults, in making arrangements to cater for their responsibilities, should give consideration to the needs of other University Employees and students, and must adhere to University health and safety policies and procedures. This responsibility cannot be delegated to another person.

Supervising adults must ensure that personal use of alcohol or other drugs does not affect the safety and well-being of others, including Children, and must comply with all provisions and requirements of the University's Alcohol and Drugs on University Sites Policy and Procedure.

Supervising adults may, at times, need to make special arrangements for the care of sick Children. While these arrangements may, in exceptional circumstances, include bringing the child onto campus as a last resort, it is not permissible for parents or carers to bring a child who has been recently exposed to an Acute Infectious Illness (such as measles, mumps, etc.) into the University. The University has various leave arrangements to assist Employees who need to be absent to care for sick Children.

4.3 Responsibilities of supervisors, lecturers and Employees with authority in the particular work environment

  • To decide whether Children may attend work and/or lectures in specific situations within the scope of this policy, taking into account:
    • the particular circumstances that have led to the request
    • the likely impact on Employees, students and visitors
    • the health and safety issues and risks.

Supervisors, lecturers and Employees with authority in a particular environment must maintain health and safety standards and the integrity of the work or study environment in accordance with University policies and procedures, while acknowledging the special needs of Employees and students with family responsibilities.

In those circumstances where the presence of a child results in unacceptable health and safety risks or an unreasonable level of disruption to others, supervisors, Employees with authority and lecturers have the authority to direct that the supervising adult and child leave the particular work or study environment. This includes all learning situations controlled by University Employees, both face to face or via other channels.

4.4 Responsibilities of Category 4 Delegates

  • To approve or otherwise the presence of Children on campus (on the advice of the relevant supervisor, lecturer or other Employee), giving consideration to Employees and students with family responsibilities without compromising the health and safety of Employees, students and visitors.
  • Where necessary, to mediate any disputes that might arise as an outcome of the implementation of this policy and procedure in their areas of responsibility.

4.5 Restricted Areas

Areas in which Children are not permitted include:

  • science laboratories and laboratory preparation areas
  • photographic laboratories or studios
  • printer/copier rooms
  • scientific, technical and maintenance workshops
  • fine arts workshops or studios, or performing arts workshops or studios
  • kitchens and other food preparation areas
  • storerooms or areas where hazardous substances are being kept
  • areas subject to particular statutory or local regulations (such as areas licensed to sell alcohol or rooms where formal examinations are being held)
  • construction sites and areas where minor works or maintenance are being carried out.

Other areas may be identified as unsuitable for Children as a result of a risk assessment, normally performed by USQSafe. Supervisors of the respective areas are required to inform Employees and students of requirements or restrictions.

4.6 Written approval

Written approval is required for all cases involving Employees bringing Children into the workplace during normal working hours.

For Employees bringing Children into the workplace outside of normal working hours, written approval should be sought wherever practicable - at the very least the Employee's supervisor should be notified of the visit.

Forms are available from the Human Resources web site and must be signed by both the Employee (as the 'responsible adult'), supervisor and relevant delegate. Wherever possible, permission should be sought prior to bringing the child on campus. Where this is not possible, permission should be sought as soon as possible after the child has been brought onto campus.

In the case of students wishing to bring Children into lectures, verbal permission only is required from the lecturer concerned prior to the commencement of the lecture or tutorial.

Written approval is required where Employees and students wish to bring Children with them on research and field trips. Forms are available and must be signed by responsible adult (Employee or student), the Employee organising the research/field trip and the relevant delegate prior to the commencement of the trip.

4.7 Persistent abuse of the policy

Where complaints are received from Employees or students alleging persistent abuse of this policy by an individual or individuals, the issues should, in the first instance, be referred to the relevant delegate who will take action to resolve the matter.

Matters still requiring attention may be referred to the Executive Director, Human Resources in the case of an Employee, or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students & Communities) in the case of a student, who will assess the matter and decide on a suitable course of action. The University's disciplinary procedures for Employees and students may be utilised.

4.8 Grievances

Employees or students who feel they have been treated unfairly when permission to bring a child on campus is refused or when a child is asked to leave the campus may consult Student Services or Human Resources or seek redress through existing University grievance mechanisms.

4.9 Liability

If the child is responsible for causing damage to University property, or causing an accident, the University may make a claim against the person responsible for the child (the 'supervising adult') and that person may be sued for damages by the University.

5 Attachment 1 - Background information and guidelines

5.1 Basic principles

In general, a common sense approach is necessary when allowing Children on campus, and Children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times while on campus.

For Employees: On 2 March 1990 the Australian Commonwealth ratified the International Labour Organisation's Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities which encourages the development of policies to enable workers (both men and women) with families to participate in the workforce without conflict between their family responsibilities and employment. As an equal opportunity employer, the University seeks to develop policies which support Employees in achieving a suitable work/life balance through flexible work practices and the general nurturing of a supportive work environment. It also appreciates the need for a workplace to be supportive of Employees with special family responsibilities, such as breastfeeding mothers. Further information on work / life balance initiatives is available from Human Resources.

While the University recognises that domestic responsibilities are undertaken by both men and women, it is also aware that the principle responsibility of child care remains in practice primarily with women. Hence the provision for Children on campus has been developed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee as part of the University's Equity policies for women, although the policy is intended to benefit all Employees, students and visitors with family responsibilities, to protect the health and welfare of all Children visiting the campus, and to protect the interests of the University.

For students: The University strives to ensure an environment for its students that is supportive of effective and equitable study, which promotes social interaction and which is healthy and safe for all.

For visitors: The University is a regional university with a close association with its community and with a wide range of professional links at the local, State, national and international levels. The University's campuses and facilities are host to a large number of visitors during the normal course of its operations. The University strives to ensure an environment that is welcoming, professional and safe for all visitors to its campuses and facilities.

Health and safety considerations: The University has a statutory and common law obligation to prevent injuries to people on campus. To meet its legal and moral responsibilities and to protect Children from possible injury, restrictions on access to various buildings and processes are required, and have been embodied in this policy.

Correct use of institutional equipment and resources: The University has a substantial resource base on its campuses and in its facilities which represent a sizeable investment. Equipment and resources made available for use by Employees and students should not be used by unauthorised third parties, including dependent Children.

Employees and students with parent/carer responsibilities: The University requires that parents or carers ('supervising adults') will not routinely bring Children to campus as an alternative to regular, organised childcare arrangements. Various childcare centres are available close to the University's campuses and students also have the option of flexible study modes to accommodate parental/carer responsibilities while studying.

Supervising adults may bring their Children on campus in situations where there are sudden and unexpected difficulties in childcare arrangements. Before making such a request, the parent/carer should bear in mind the individual circumstances and whether or not they can ensure that the workplace or class will not be unduly disrupted by the presence of the child. Approval may be granted at the discretion of the supervisor or lecturer. Although Employees are urged to treat occasional requests sympathetically, they retain the responsibility for deciding if such approval is appropriate, and it is also their responsibility to request that the child leave the work or study environment should unacceptable health and safety risks or unreasonable disruptions occur. Any complaints or concerns raised by Employees or students in the areas concerned are to be given due consideration.

Workplace Health and Safety considerations demand that visiting Children should not be required or permitted to perform any work or assistance around the workplace during the course of their visit.

Non-teaching areas: Occasionally it may be necessary for Children to accompany an adult in non-teaching areas such as the Library or Refectory, subject to any regulations that may apply to these particular areas. In such circumstances, it is the responsibility of the parent or carer to ensure that other Employees and students are not disturbed or inconvenienced by the presence of the child. Children may be permitted into computer laboratories but are not permitted to use University computer and information technology resources.

Restricted access areas: The University has health and safety obligations to Employees, students and visitors. Therefore some areas are considered as 'Restricted Access Areas' on the basis of health and safety risks identified. These areas are listed in the Policy and Procedure, which elaborates on the basic list provided in the Scope of the Workplace Health and Safety Procedure Visitors on University Sites Procedure. Children are generally not permitted into these areas.

Supervision of Children on campus: All Children visiting campus must be supervised by a responsible adult. Supervising adults take ultimate and sole responsibility for the child visiting the University. This authority cannot be delegated to another person. The University provides an environment that is conducive to study and work, and supervising adults who bring Children on campus must take steps to ensure that there is minimal disruption to others caused by their Children.

In all circumstances it is the responsibility of the supervising adult to ensure that Children are not permitted access to University equipment and resources intended solely for use by Employees and students, particularly computers and information and communication technology resources. Children must not be left unattended in work areas or other areas where damage to expensive equipment or access to confidential information is possible.

Research and field trips: Children may accompany supervising adults on research and teaching field trips only with prior approval from the Employee conducting the field trip. Approval may be given on a case by case basis in relation to each field trip. The University accepts no liability for Children accompanying supervising adults on field trips.

Provision of facilities for Children's use: The University provides facilities to cater for the needs of visiting Children. This includes provision of pram/stroller access to buildings, and baby change facilities on campus. The University endeavours to support parents in activities such as feeding, including breastfeeding, while on campus.

Authority to request that Children leave the campus when the circumstances warrant: Where the supervising adult is an Employee, the Employee's supervisor has the authority to direct that Children leave the work environment. Where the parent or carer is a student, the Employee supervising the particular study environment concerned, or in some cases the person in charge of the area has the authority to direct that Children leave the area. In areas such as the Library any Employee on duty has the authority to direct that Children leave the area. In some circumstances, Security Employees may be called upon to fulfil this function on behalf of the University.

5.2 Disclaimer

Supervising adults who bring Children on to University campuses, who allow their Children to use University facilities or allow them to be involved in any University sponsored field trip, take the risk in relation to any injury, illness, or death to the child whilst the child is on campus or so engaged. Further, the supervising adult indemnifies the University, its Employees and agents, from any claim whatsoever regarding any such injury, illness or death. At all times during the visit the visiting child is the sole responsibility and liability of the supervising adult.

The supervising adult also indemnifies the University in relation to any damage or injury whatsoever that the child may cause whilst the child is on campus, engaged in any University activity or using any of the facilities.

6 Delegated responsibilities

Approver

Level of Delegation

Category 4 Delegate or above

Approval or otherwise of Children on campus, on advice from relevant supervisors/lecturers

7 Policy Information

Accountable Officer

Executive Director, Human Resources

Policy Type

Regulated Policy and Procedure

Approved Date

4/11/2013

Effective Date

4/11/2013

Review Date

4/11/2016

Relevant Legislation

International Labour Organisation's Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities (as ratified by the Australian Commonwealth government on 20 March 1990)

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)

Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Commonwealth)

Fair Work Act 2009

Related Policies

Code of Conduct Policy

Alcohol and Drugs on University Sites Policy and Procedure

Leave of Absence Policy and Procedure

Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Harassment Policy

Acceptable use of ICT Resources Policy

Related Procedures

Visitors on University Sites Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Definitions that relate to this policy only

Acute infectious illness

Includes common childhood diseases (measles, mumps, chicken pox, German measles) as well as colds/flu and other readily transmissible diseases that are not chronic in their nature.

Children

Means people under the age of 16 years.

Employee

Means a person employed by the University of Southern Queensland and whose conditions of employment are governed by the USQ Enterprise Agreement 2010-2013.

On-campus classroom situations

Relevant to this Policy includes all formal learning situations under the control of University Employees, including teletutorials and videoconferences

On-campus work situations

Relevant to this Policy includes the buildings and grounds at the Toowoomba, Fraser Coast and Springfield campuses and properties under University control

Restricted access areas

Are work areas defined as a studio, laboratory, workshop, store room, kitchen or other similar higher risk work area where access is limited to authorised personnel who normally work or study in the area, as defined in the Scope of the Workplace Health and Safety Procedure Visitors on University Sites. For the purpose of this Policy, a list of 'Restricted Areas' is listed in Section 4.5 which expands on, but is consistent with, the Restricted Access Areas, as defined in the Scope of the Workplace Health and Safety Procedure Visitors on University Sites.

Keywords

Children visiting, restricted access

TRIM Record No

13/277PL

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Failure to adhere to this policy may be a breach of the USQ Code of Conduct.