Can an Employee Ever Bring Their Children to Work?

21 August 2020

Some employees may ask you, “is it legal to bring your child to work UK?” The short answer is that yes it is, provided that it is safe for them to be there.

For example, it will be safer to bring children into an office-based environment than a construction site, and as an employer, you will need to consider children in the workplace liability issues.

However, when considering children at work, you may wonder if you need to permit this at all and, if so, how you should go about it.

Health and safety for children in the workplace

The first thing to consider is children in the workplace laws. Fundamentally, workplaces are not designed with children in mind and a child may be place at an increased risk from being there.

For example, a liability insurance provider is not likely to be happy if you permitted a child to be on premises and they get injured whilst there.

If you do wish to permit children to be on site, for whatever reason, you should make it clear to employees that the child is their responsibility. Unsupervised children can lead to a hazardous working environment.

Consider health and safety at work, you should clearly specify where the children are allowed to go to in the building, the numbers of children allowed, and that they should be supervised at all times.

It is important to remember that workplaces need to maintain social distancing to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which may be difficult to maintain with children present.

Children in the workplace policies

Obviously, no employer is going to want children to be in the office regularly and certainly should never consider implementing a situation where children work.

However, there may be situations where staff are struggling to facilitate childcare and need to bring their child to work if they are unable to work from home.

To avoid a request of this nature, you could produce a no children in the workplace policy, clearly establishing that this will not be permitted. However, if you are willing to allow this in certain situations, you should put together a policy on children in the workplace.

It should clearly detail:

  • When this will be allowed
  • That it is only in exceptional circumstances
  • That the expectations placed upon staff if they are permitted to bring their child into work
  • Any necessary health and safety measures that need to be taken.

It is important to treat staff fairly and consistently when making the decision to permit them to bring their child to work. That said, circumstances will be different for everyone so it is also important to bear this in mind.

Discriminating against women with children in the workplace

Childcare issues can affect your working mothers more so than their male colleagues. If they feel unfairly treated, it could potentially open up your company to claims of discrimination.

Therefore, while you may not want to consider letting them bring children into work if they need to, permitting this during emergency situations may help to avoid situations of unfairness arising. This alongside flexible working helps the transition from maternity leave.

That said, this situation may also be avoided by having clear policies that outline the right to take time off for dependents and parental leave.

The benefits of a bring your child to work day in the UK

As a way of improving employee engagement, you may decide to introduce a bring your kid to work day. Staff may respond positively to the opportunity to bring in their daughters and sons, which could improve overall morale and productivity in your company.

A take your child to work day in the UK may also enable you to encourage children to enter your sector.

For example, if you want to encourage more women to progress in your company, a bring your daughter to work day could help you to sell potential job opportunities to future female employees, and therefore help them to acquire the skills through the education to go for them.

Just ensure that if you plan a bring your daughters or sons to work day, that you clearly outline the rules of the day through company policy. This ensures health and safety is being adhered to.

Coronavirus and childcare

Your employees who have children during the coronavirus pandemic are facing some challenges. Many of their schools have closed, leading to an increased demand for childcare solutions.

Employees are within their right to take time off to care for a dependant child and there are no rules in relation to the time they can take off. It is not ideal to have your staff take long periods of time off, so how do you allow your employees to balance their responsibilities?

One way to keep your employees at work as well as mitigate the costs of childcare for them is to allow children to come to the workplace.

Consider the impact it has on other employees

While this may have a positive effect on the working environment, especially for those who bring their children in, it may not be good for everyone.

Not all are comfortable with colleagues bringing in their youngsters. Women who have been unable to bear children suffer from issues relating to this. This can lead to problems with their mental health.

A take your daughter to work day in the UK, where one in six couples fail to conceive, could prove to be a painful experience for some of your staff members.

This makes it essential to have a policy in place, to allow all those in the office to be comfortable with the experience.

Need our help?

Unsure if you have the right policies in place for this? Concerned about the health and safety issues it may cause?. Call us for instant support: 0800 028 2420.

 

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