Children on Campus - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

1.1 The University of Queensland is committed to the principle of equal opportunity for staff and students and promotes a work and study environment that respects work, study and family responsibilities.

1.2 In 1991, the Federal Government signed International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 156: Workers with Family Responsibilities. The convention focuses on issues for workers in balancing their work and family responsibilities.

1.3 The Anti-Discrimination Act (1991) prohibits discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding, family responsibilities and parental status in education and employment. The Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act (1984) also prohibits discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding (including expressing) and family responsibilities. The University also has obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act (1995).

1.4 The purpose of this policy is to outline the conditions in which children are normally permitted to be at The University of Queensland as a work and study environment.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Child - a person under the age of 15 years

Campus - a recognised University of Queensland work or study environment, owned or operated by the University. This excludes telecommuting arrangements, where a UQ staff member is working from home.

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all University of Queensland staff and students.

4.  Policy Statement

While a number of childcare and family support facilities for use by staff and students are available on the University's campuses (see the Parents and Carers Equity Office website), the University recognises that

  • as a last option, parents may need to bring their children into the University environment during emergencies, for example, when childcare arrangements have failed unexpectedly;
  • women staff, students or visitors may need to bring children on campus to breastfeed.

5.  Where Children Are Not Permitted

5.1 There are some areas of the University where children are not permitted because of potential health and safety risks. Examples include laboratories, workshops and places with animals or where farm/grounds equipment is in use. Exceptions to this would be as determined by a formal approved risk assessment.

5.2 Children will not be permitted in an examination at any time due to the potential impact on the carer, and disruption to other students. If a student is unable to attend an exam due to the sudden illness of their child or dependant, or failure of childcare or carer arrangements, they may apply for a special examination (See paragraphs 5.7.8 and 5.7.9 in Assessment - Procedures). This application should be supported by a medical certificate for the child/dependent or a statutory declaration.

5.3  Children who are ill or who may infect others should not be in the university environment (for staff, see Personal Leave).

6.  Permission and Responsibility

6.1 Permission to bring children into work or study environments is at the discretion of the relevant supervisor or manager. Wherever possible such permission should be sought prior to arrival at the workplace. Requests are expected to be viewed sympathetically and within the framework of the Anti-Discrimination Act (Qld). The supervisor must give consideration to the level of risk associated with the child's presence at the University. The Anti-Discrimination Act, Qld (1991) states:

a person may do an act that is reasonably necessary to protect public health, and the health and safety of people at a place of work (General Exemptions For Discrimination, Sections 107 and 108).

6.2 If the supervisor or manager believes that the presence of a child is causing an unacceptable health and safety risk, or unreasonable disruption to others, they may request that the child be taken away from the area by the parent/carer.

6.3 Parents/carers must ensure the safety of their children and supervise them at all times.

7.  Carer Facilities on Campus

7.1 The University has established family and parenting rooms so that staff, students and visitors may breastfeed or bottle feed their child and/or express milk on campus, with access to suitable facilities (For more information on the locations of these rooms, go to: the Parents and Carers Equity Office website). Where a room is not located conveniently, for example, at smaller University sites, staff and students should discuss their requirements with their supervisor. The supervisor should make every reasonable effort to put in place suitable arrangements. The Equity Office is available for consultation on these matters. Parenting rooms will be included in major new and rehabilitated buildings and other buildings on an as needed basis.

Professor Alan Rix