Children on Campus

Approving Authority:
Director, Human Resources
Date of Approval:
August 2003
Last Amended:
Contact Officer:
Industrial Relations Advisory Unit


UNSW recognises that many employees have family responsibilities. As an equal opportunity employer, the University supports achieving a balance between work and family commitments by providing flexible workplace arrangements and other family friendly employment practices. The University also provides additional services for employees including work-based childcare, vacation care and programs for children through the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre, National Institute of Dramatic Art etc that are available to children of UNSW employees and offers the flexibility of pre-tax deductions for employees to three childcare facilities located nearby.

Due to flexible workplace arrangements it is unlikely that employees would find themselves in a situation where their children would ever accompany them to work, however there may be rare instances where family responsibilities conflict with work commitments and therefore permission to have children on campus may be sought. This policy is not intended to substitute for regular child-care.

The University's Responsibilities

Under the NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 employers have an obligation to ensure the health safety and welfare of employees and other people who enter the workplace. This includes the children of employees who enter the workplace for some reason.

The Employee's Responsibilities

All employees need to be aware that what constitutes a safe work environment with appropriate safeguards for employees may not be equally safe for children. For this reason any employee that brings a child to the workplace is responsible for their supervision at all times. Paper shredders, zip hot water heaters, metal scissors, staplers, photo copiers, guillotines are all commonplace in an office situation where employees are trained in their use, but threaten a child's safety. There are also many restricted areas including storerooms, workshops, laboratories, clinics, kitchens, construction sites, and other areas where toxic or hazardous substances are kept. In such an environment, there is not only a risk to the child, but a potential risk to other people as a result of the actions of a child. Further, there is a potential risk of damage to University property and consequently allowing children to use equipment such as photocopying or computers should be avoided.

The employee should ensure the safety of their child by supervising them at all times and ensuring their child does not access high-risk work areas. Supervision at all times is required since most employees at the University are not required to be screened in accordance with child protection legislation in the way that employees who interact regularly with children (such as Uni gym or child care centres) are screened. Before seeking to bring a child to the workplace employees should also consider the age of the child and the length of time they intend to bring the child to work for. Importantly they should first seek permission from their Supervisor before bringing a child to work.

The University provides leave to cover a variety of situations. For instance if a child becomes ill, carer's leave is available. An employee must not threaten the health of other employees by exposure to a sick child. Where childcare arrangements break down at the last minute recreation leave may be applied for or flexible working hours may be accessed.

The Supervisor's Responsibility

A Supervisor should treat requests for children to be in the workplace sensitively and make a decision on a case by case basis having regard to the reason for the request.

The Supervisor must be satisfied that the child will be supervised by the care giver at all times. Where a risk is later identified, the child becomes disruptive or the child is not being adequately supervised, the Supervisor has the right to ask that the care giver remove the child from the workplace and take appropriate leave. The Supervisor should ensure that a child being present in the workplace is not an ongoing arrangement, but to deal with a one off situation where there is justifiable cause not to arrange alternative arrangements for the child.

Why would an employee need to bring their child to work?

Example that would generally be supported

A child has an appointment with a Specialist at the Children's Hospital at 10am. Between 9 am and10 am the child sits alongside the parent and reads books brought from home. The parent performs work tasks without interruption and counts 9 am and 9.45 am as time spent at work. The parent later makes up the time spent attending for the appointment and dropping the child off at school.

Example that would not be supported

A child finishes school each day at 3.30 pm. The school provides after school care but the child comes to the parent's work on a regular basis. The parent asks subordinate staff to supervise the child while they attend meetings etc.

For further information
Industrial Relations Advisory Unit
(02) 9385 2710