Babies and Children on Campus Guidelines


Application


All members of the University community (ECE centres are covered by separate legislation and regulation).

Purpose


To support staff and students when there are babies and children on campus.

Introduction


The University is committed to providing equal opportunities to all who have the potential to succeed in a University of high international standing and to ensure that it does not discriminate unfairly, including on the grounds of family responsibility or gender. It seeks to support staff and students with childcare responsibilities to succeed in their work and study, without impacting negatively on the work or study environment of others.

Reasons for staff and students bringing babies and children on campus (in lecture theatres, tutorials, events etc) include:

  • infant feeding including breastfeeding
  • taking children to or from Kohanga Reo and Kohungahunga and Early Childhood Education Centres
  • attending social events which include children
  • short term arrangements due to non-communicable ill health or holiday care needs

Guidelines


  • University policies concerning leave and flexible work arrangements for staff are available to support staff with caring responsibilities.
  • Employees are entitled to use their sick leave to care for babies and children (or a dependent family member).
  • Further information for staff who are parents can be found in the Combining Parenting and a Career Toolkit.
  • Services to support staff and students who are parents include:
  • Responsibility for all aspects of a baby’s or child’s behaviour and responsibility for their safety rests solely with their parent or caregiver.

Note the University is unable to alter the physical environment, other than in the childcare centres, to cater for babies/toddlers/children. Some physical environments can present hazards for babies/toddlers/children such as stairways, mezzanine floors and exits which would need to be managed by the parent or caregiver.

  • It is advisable for parents or caregivers as a matter of courtesy and safety, to advise the relevant manager or lecturer when children are present.  Notification may not always be necessary, for example, if babies and children are in transit through an area not subject to restrictions and where no safety issues arise.
  • If the presence of babies and children will impact on other staff and/or students, or raise safety issues, the parent or caregiver should ensure plans are in place and agreed so as to ensure minimum disruption, and to ensure the children in their care are safe.
  • Requests for babies and children being present on campus will, so far as reasonably possible, be accommodated with flexibility and sensitivity.
  • If a manager or lecturer has concerns about a baby or child being present in an area for which they have responsibility, these concerns are to be discussed with the caregiver or parent as soon as possible with a view to seeking a resolution.  
  • The presence of babies and children on a field trip must be approved by the person in charge of the field trip before the event takes place.
  • Babies and children present on University premises are not permitted in the areas of the University where:
    • there are health and safety issues, such as workshops or laboratories where  chemicals are stored, near plant rooms or other hazardous areas
    • material and equipment which could be easily damaged are kept
    • material which may be offensive or disturbing to children is stored or on display
  • When children are in offices in which confidential or sensitive materials are kept, they must be supervised at all times. The risk includes documents and information in all formats including soft and hard copy.
  • Student parents or caregivers may seek advice from AUSA Student Advice Hub, their faculty student support staff or the University Proctor.
  • Staff parents or caregivers can refer issues to their HR Manager or the Staff Equity Manager, Equity Office.
  • It is recommended that departments establish protocols relevant to their particular circumstances. This may include waiver of the need to advise the relevant manager/lecturer if that is considered unnecessary or clear restrictions on areas, which pose a risk to health and safety.
  • It is also recommended that such protocols are well communicated, eg in staff induction.
  • Any disagreements about a baby or child being present on campus will be determined by discussions with the relevant staff member.

Definitions


The following definitions apply to this document:

Babies and children means persons under the age of 14 years including newborns and infants.
Note that this definition is not intended to cover enrolled students who are under 14 years of age.

Campus means the Campuses of the University of Auckland as described on the University website

Caregiver means staff, student or other person who brings a child or children onto University premises

Field trips are considered to be “on campus” for the purpose of these guidelines

Member(s) any staff, student, contractor or visitor to the University

Staff member refers to an individual employed on a full or part time basis

Students includes all who, at the time, are enrolled as students at the University

University community includes all staff and students honorary appointees, contractors and visitors

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control


Content manager: Director Staff Equity

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity)

Date approved: 2018

Review date: 2021

Further information


More information about the University’s commitment to be a fair and inclusive place to study and work can be found on the Equity Office website.

Case studies - babies and children on campus


1.    A Student has had a baby during semester and is breastfeeding. Some days she has childcare arrangements but as the baby is currently too young to be in an ECE centre she brings him to lectures. She has discussed this with her lecturer and he is supportive. The student sits at the back of the lecture theatre and if the baby is disturbed she can easily leave and return when the baby has settled. This arrangement has worked successfully.

2.    A staff member has returned from six months parental leave. Their baby is extremely quiet and relaxed. The staff member would like to keep the baby in their office for the next six months with a carer looking after the baby while the parent is lecturing. Colleagues approached the academic head and said that they were happy to have babies in the office occasionally but, even for those who really enjoyed contact with the baby, it was distracting having a baby there all the time. Some did not want to damage a collegial relationship and were uncomfortable about speaking directly to the parent and so would prefer it to come from the head. Also it was disclosed that there were colleagues whose personal circumstances, such as failed IVF treatment, created sensitivity around continual contact with babies in the workplace. Taking these views into account the academic head decided that staff could bring babies and children in when regular arrangements fall through but it was not in everyone best interests to have an ongoing arrangement.

3.    Some staff are employed in a laboratory where significant health and safety issues make it inappropriate for children to visit them in their workplace. To compensate for this, and to provide a welcoming environment, a corner of their staff room has been set up toys, games and puzzles so that families could visit in comfort and safety. This area has also been well-used when families attend departmental functions.

4.    A staff member’s child was unwell but the doctor had confirmed that they were no longer infectious. The child had not recovered sufficiently to go back to school but didn’t need to stay in bed. After checking with their manager, the staff member was able to have their child in their office until they were well enough to return to school.

5.    During school holidays, a staff member has regularly brought their intermediate school aged child to work. The staff member has their own office, their productivity doesn’t seem to have been affected and the child is not at all disruptive.  However, other staff have reported that they feel constrained talking about certain work issues in front of the child and the manager is also concerned about privacy with phone calls.  It is agreed with the staff member that in future they can bring the child in when necessary but use flexible work arrangements during the school holidays, such as working from home, to accommodate their family responsibilities in school holidays.

6.    A Science lecturer has recently had a baby and is keen to continue breastfeeding. Her partner brings the baby into the University and she can breast feed in the faculty’s parent space. As the baby gets older and needs less frequent feeding she can express milk and store it in a mini fridge on loan from the Equity Office.