Topics Map > 13. Employee Health and Safety > 13.04 Children in the Workplace

Children in the Workplace

UW–Madison policy for Children in the Workplace.
Functional Owner

Director, Office of Human Resources

Executive Sponsor

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Policy Contact

Director, Office of Workforce Relations

Policy Summary

This policy provides guidance to UW–Madison divisions and university employees in determining under what conditions it is appropriate to bring a child or children into the workplace.

Who This Policy Applies To

This policy applies to an employee responsible for bringing a child or children into a campus workplace, regardless of the employee’s relationship to the child or children.

This policy does not apply to children while they are in the care of a university child care program, participating in a university camp or youth enrichment program, or attending university classes in which they are enrolled. This policy does not apply to a child who has a parent with a workplace assignment in which one of the conditions of employment is residency in a campus facility (e.g., live-in residence hall director.)


UW–Madison is a family-friendly workplace and supports work-life balance by providing appropriate flexibilities for employees, who may want or need to bring a child or children to the workplace for brief visits, specific campus events, situational convenience, or family emergencies.

Maintaining the safety and health of UW–Madison employees, students, guests and visitors relies upon the control of hazardous conditions and prevention of unsafe behaviors. When visitors are children, diligence to guard against unsafe conditions and unpredictable behaviors must be heightened.

Policy Detail

  1. Circumstances

    An employee may want to bring a child or children into the workplace under several circumstances, including:

    • Brief visits (e.g., an employee introduces a child to co-workers; an employee brings a child to work before or after an appointment).
    • Specific campus events that are employer-sanctioned and at which attendance by children is encouraged.
    • In the event of an emergency.
  2. Abuse of Policy

  3. Children are not to be brought to work in lieu of extended and regular childcare.

  4. High Risk Areas

  5. Children are not allowed in high risk areas, as defined in this policy, unless an exception has been agreed to by management of the area and the institutional risk manager or safety officer.

  6. Responsibilities

    Employees and management must accept certain responsibilities (listed below) to protect the welfare of the child and the integrity of the workplace.

    1. Employee responsibilities.

      An employee who brings a child or children into the workplace is responsible for:

      • understanding the circumstances under which children are allowed in his/her/their specific workplace
      • supervising and caring for the child while in the workplace
      • accepting responsibility for all aspects of the child’s behavior, the child’s safety, and for any injury to persons or damage to property that is caused by the child’s presence
      • refraining from bringing a child with a communicable illness into the workplace

    2. Management responsibilities.

      Management is responsible for:

      • determining that hazards are not likely to exist or can be controlled under the circumstances in which the child will be present
      • considering the health of all employees when an employee wishes to bring a sick child into the workplace
      • considering the extent to which the child’s presence in the workplace poses a risk of breaching confidentiality of information in the workplace
      • addressing behavior that prevents the employee from meeting workplace responsibilities or disrupts other employees in the workplace or the education of our students
    3. Management has the authority to disallow the presence of children in the workplace in accordance with this policy. Examples include, but are not limited to, determining that a child’s presence is unsafe, poses a health risk, or is disruptive.

  7. Insurance Coverage

  8. Bringing a child or children into the workplace is generally not part of an employee’s job duties and is generally not undertaken as an agent of UW–Madison, although rare exceptions may occur. Therefore, an employee who brings a child or children into the workplace may not (and should not expect to) be covered by the University’s liability insurance for any negligent or intentional injury related to the child’s or children’s presence in the workplace.

    A child or children as defined by this policy are not covered by the University’s liability insurance or workers compensation programs. A child or children are expected to be covered by their parent’s or guardian’s health insurance in the event the child or children are hurt or injured while in the workplace.

Supporting Tools

University of Wisconsin–Madison HR Policies, Chapter 16. Leaves of Absence

Balancing Family & Work: UW–Madison Family Related Leave Policies for Faculty, Academic Staff & Limited Appointees

Workplace Flexibility: Workplace Flexibility Toolkit

Office of Child Care & Family Resources

UW–Madison CIO Responsible Use of Technology Policy

University of Wisconsin–Madison Grievance Procedures


Child or Children: A person or persons under the age of 18 years of age who is not enrolled in classes at the university.

Employee: Anyone employed by UW–Madison, regardless of employee category or appointment type.

High Risk Area: Includes any area with hazardous levels of radiation; hazardous chemicals or substances; hazardous biological agents or vectors; hazardous equipment or processes, or; other area deemed high risk by the institutional risk manager or safety officer.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • high security areas
  • areas that are excluded for general employee or student access
  • animal care or animal research facilities
  • certain laboratories
  • food preparation areas
  • construction areas
  • fitness centers
  • maintenance garages
  • mechanical rooms
  • steam plants
  • trade or machine shops
  • university-owned vehicles

Management: Includes supervisors, managers, department chairs, directors, deans, vice chancellors, provosts, or chancellors.


Office of Human Resources (OHR)
  • Provides policy oversight to ensure compliance with campus policy
  • Conducts periodic reviews of the policy with campus human resources departments and other stakeholders, as appropriate
  • Implements changes to the policy, as necessary
Deans and Directors
  • Ensures that the college/school/division consistently applies and complies with the rationale and provisions of this policy
College/School/Division HR
  • Ensures consistent application of the policy within the school/college/division
  • (please see Employee Responsibilities, above)
  • (please see Management Responsibilities, above)

Links to Related Policies

University of Wisconsin–Madison HR Policies, Chapter 16. Leaves of Absence

University of Wisconsin–Madison HR Policies, Chapter 17. Dispute Resolution

UW–Madison CIO Responsible Use of Technology Policy

Keywordschild, childcare, kids   Doc ID66887
OwnerJonathan D.GroupHR Policies
Created2016-09-13 10:38 CSTUpdated2020-03-02 14:32 CST
SitesHR Policies
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