There are a number of reasons and instances that result in children visiting the company’s workplace.
This policy outlines the company’s approach to ensuring that employees 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 work environment of others in the company and to protect the company’s assets and reputation.
The policy also considers health and safety issues and other legislative responsibilities associated with children being on the company’s premises.
2. Scope and application
This policy applies to situations involving all employees and visitors to the company, 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 company business off-site
- formally organised supervised visits such as school excursions or children involved in work experience activities;
- children attending other organised activities such as company open days, music or theatre performances, arts exhibitions or company functions;
- activities involving children undertaken by external agencies on property owned by the company, such as the crèche and vacation care.
- children attending functions organised by external agencies in hired company facilities; and other formally organised school visits.
However, in these instances the expectation of the company is that employees organising such visits must ensure that adequate supervision and protection against hazards are provided. Employees should seek advice from the Health and Safety Officer to assist them to identify hazards and to provide appropriate controls and levels of supervision.
3. Related legislation/regulations/guidelines
- International Labour Organisation’s Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities (not yet ratified by the South African Government)
- Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995
- Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (updated)
- Employment Equity Act
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
4. Associated Company Policies
- Health and Safety Policy
- Policy to accommodate breast feeding mothers in the workplace
5. Review date/s
6. Policy statement
The company seeks to support employees who find it necessary to bring a child into work 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 employee accepts responsibility for supervising the child at all times during the period of the child’s visit to the workplace and does not delegate this responsibility to a colleague; and
- the child does not cause a significant disturbance to the integrity of the work concernens
For the purposes of this policy:
- Children means people under the age of 16 years.
- Employee means a person employed by the company
- 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 where access is limited to authorised personnel who normally work in the area. For the purpose of this Policy, a list of ‘Restricted Areas’ is listed in Section ….. of the Company’s Health and Safety Manual.
7.2 Responsibilities of the company
- To provide a healthy and safe environment which is conducive to work for all employees and visitors, and to comply with legislative requirements.
- To take reasonable steps to assist employees and visitors who may have special needs to enable access to an appropriate range of facilities and services.
7.3 Responsibilities of people bringing children into the workplace
- 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 in the workplace
- To consider the potential risk to the health and safety of others that may arise when children are brought into the workplace and to take reasonable steps to safeguard against risks. An example of such as risk would be bringing children with German Measles to a workplace that employs pregnant women.
- To be responsible for the behaviour of the children in their care, so as not to inconvenience, disrupt or endanger employees or other visitors.
In general, all children visiting the workplace 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 employees, and must adhere to the company’s health and safety policies and procedures. This responsibility cannot be delegated to another person.
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 to the workplace 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 workplace. The company has various leave arrangements to assist employees who need to be absent to care for sick children. Please consult the company’s leave policy (family responsibility policy)
7.4 Responsibilities of supervisors and employees with authority in the work environment
- To decide whether children may attend work 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 and visitors; and
- the health and safety issues and risks.
Supervisors and employees with authority in a particular work environment must maintain health and safety standards and the integrity of the work environment in accordance with the company’s policies and procedures, while acknowledging the special needs of employees 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 and employees with authority have the authority to direct that the supervising adult and child leave the particular work environment.
7.5 Restricted Areas
Areas in which children are not permitted include:
Here follows a list of possible areas in a workplace that may have restricted access. Please edit according to your special requirements:
- science laboratories and laboratory preparation areas;
- photographic laboratories or studios;
- printer/copier rooms;
- scientific, technical and maintenance workshops;
- 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;
- the roof of the building or balconies that might pose a risk to children especially toddlers
Other areas may be identified as unsuitable for children as a result of a risk assessment, normally performed by Health and Safety Officer. Supervisors of the respective areas are required to inform employees of these requirements or restrictions.
7.6 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 [SH1] are available from the Human Resources web site and must be signed by both the employee (as the ‘responsible adult’) and the supervisor. Wherever possible permission should be sought prior to bringing the child to the workplace. Where this is not possible, permission should be sought as soon as possible after the child has been brought onto the premises.
7.7 Persistent abuse of the policy
Where complaints are received from employees alleging persistent abuse of this policy by an individual or individuals, the issues should, in the first instance, be referred to the appropriate supervisor or line manager who will take action to resolve the matter. The company’s disciplinary procedures for employees may be utilised.
Employees who feel they have been treated unfairly when permission to bring a child to the workplace is refused or when a child is asked to leave the workplace may consult the Human Resources department or seek redress through existing company grievance mechanisms.
If the child is responsible for causing damage to company property, or causing an accident, the company may make a claim against the person responsible for the child (the ‘supervising adult’) and that person may be sued for damages by the company
8. Background information and guidelines
As an equal opportunity employer, the company 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.
Health and safety considerations: The company has a statutory and common law obligation to prevent injuries to people in the workplace. 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 company equipment and resources: The company has a substantial resource base which represent a sizeable investment. Equipment and resources made available for use by employees should not be used by unauthorised third parties, including dependant children.
Employees with parent/carer responsibilities: The company requires that parents or carers (‘supervising adults’) will not routinely bring children to the workplace as an alternative to regular, organised childcare arrangements.
Supervising adults may bring their children to the workplace 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 will not be unduly disrupted by the presence of the child. Approval may be granted at the discretion of the supervisor. 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 should unacceptable health and safety risks or unreasonable disruptions occur. Any complaints or concerns raised by employees in the areas concerned are to be given due consideration.
Children are not permitted to perform work
Employment legislation, and in particular the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 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.
Children may not be left unattended
Children must not be left unattended in work areas or other areas where damage to expensive equipment or access to confidential information is possible.
Provision of facilities for children’s use: The company provides facilities to cater for the needs of visiting children. This includes provision of pram/stroller access to buildings, and baby change facilities in the workplace. The company endeavours to support parents in activities such as feeding, including breastfeeding, while at work. Please consult the Company’s Policy to Accommodate Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace
Supervising adults who bring children to the workplace take the risk in relation to any injury, illness, or death to the child whilst the child is in the workplace. Further, the supervising adult indemnifies the company, 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 company in relation to any damage or injury whatsoever that the child may cause whilst the child is in the workplace, engaged in any company activity or using any of the company facilities.
Table of amendments
|Version number||Date||Short description of amendment|
Permission Form/Waiver : Children in the Workplace
|I have performed a safety evaluation of the work area prior to the arrival of the child(ren).||[ ] yes|
|The safety evaluation form has been completed and signed by my supervisor.||[ ] yes|
|I am the legal guardian of the child(ren).||[ ] yes [ ] no|
|I am not the legal guardian of the child(ren), but I have written permission of the parents or legal guardian to take the child(ren) into my workplace. The legal guardian of the child(ren) has signed a Children in the Workplace consent form.||[ ] yes (Attach form)|
Employee assuming charge & care of child(ren)
Safety Evaluation for Children in the Workplace
Children in the Workplace Consent Form
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