Kim Hayton, HR Director at FDR Law discusses Children in the workplace
Q: One of our employees has childcare issues and has asked if they can bring their child into work during the school holidays, what should we do?
A: We all know that the school holidays can be challenging for parents especially in the long summer break.
However there are a number of points to consider with this request. Firstly, if you say yes to this employee for their child to come into work with them, then you will also need to say yes to other employees with similar requests.
Secondly, there could be issues around your liability. For example, if the child was to injure themselves whilst on your premises it is unlikely that you will be covered by your insurance policies. It is worth noting that liability cannot be passed to the parent as their responsibility whilst they are on your premises. As the employer you are responsible for the ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all non-employees whilst they are in your office.
Lastly, even if the employee says that their child will be no trouble, there will inevitably be some disruption during the day, which will distract their parent and possibly other employees from their work.
If their job allows for it and you are able to still conduct your business as before, you could consider a temporary change in their hours during the holidays i.e. they work longer hours so that they can have a week day off. It should be clear though that this is just a temporary arrangement and not permanent and again if you offer this solution to one employee, you will need to offer it to other staff members.