- 1 Policy Statement
- 2 Procedures
- 2.1 Responsibilities of the University
- 2.2 Responsibilities of people bringing children into the University
- 2.3 Responsibilities of supervisors, lecturers and employees with authority in the particular work environment
- 2.4 Responsibilities of Category 4 Delegates
- 2.5 Restricted Areas
- 2.6 Written approval
- 2.7 Persistent abuse of the policy
- 2.8 Grievances
- 2.9 Liability
- 3 Definitions
- 4 Attachment 1 - Background information and guidelines
- 5 Other Policy Information
Scope and Application:
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; and
the child does not cause a significant disturbance to the integrity of the work or study environment concerned.
(Approved by Council October 2002).
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 USQ's Drugs and Alcohol on University Sites policy.
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.
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 USQ's .
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.
2.3 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; and
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 USQ employees, including teletutorials and videoconferences.
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 in their areas of responsibility.
Areas in which children are not permitted include:
science laboratories and laboratory preparation areas;
photographic laboratories or studios;
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); and
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.
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.
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 Chief Operating Officer who, in consultation with the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor where necessary, will assess the matter and decide on a suitable course of action. The University's disciplinary procedures for employees and students may be utilised.
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.
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.
Definition (with examples if required)
means people under the age of 16 years.
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 work situations
relevant to this Policy includes the buildings and groups at the Toowoomba, Fraser Coast and Springfield campuses and properties under University control
On-campus classroom situations
relevant to this Policy includes all formal learning situations under the control of University employees, including teletutorials and videoconferences
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.
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 . For the purpose of this Policy, a list of ‘Restricted Areas' is listed in Section 4.1 below which expands on, but is consistent with, the Restricted Access Areas, as defined in the Scope of the Workplace Health and Safety Procedure .
are as defined in the Human Resources Policy and Procedure .
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 Affirmative Action 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: USQ 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: USQ 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. USQ'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: USQ 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: USQ 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 dependant children.
Employees and students with parent/carer responsibilities: USQ 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 USQ'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 Section 3, which elaborates on the basic list provided in the Scope of the Workplace Health and Safety 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: USQ 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.
Supervising adults who bring children on to USQ campuses, who allow their children to use USQ 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 USQ, 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 USQ in relation to any damage or injury whatsoever that the child may cause whilst the child is on campus, engaged in any USQ activity or using any of the facilities.
Peak Approval Authority:
Related Legislation / guidelines:
Strategic Plan/Goal & Objectives:
Supporting documents, forms:
Associated USQ policies:
Next Review Date*:
Expiry Date of Policy*:
Level of Delegation
Vice-Chancellor or Chief Operating Officer
Category 4 Delegate or above
Approval or otherwise of children on campus, on advice from relevant supervisors/lecturers
Next Review Date*: