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Employee Wellbeing - Pregnancy, Breast and Bottle Feeding and Children on Campus Procedure

Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure outlines Victoria University's (VU’s) support for parents and carers during pregnancy, infant feeding, and with the care of children on campus.

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(2) HESF: 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth): Standard 8

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all employees of the University.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Breastfeeding - the feeding of a child/infant directly from the mother's breast.

(6) Bottle feeding - the feeding of a child/infant from a bottle with expressed breastmilk or a substitute milk product.

(7) Campus or associated site - any University campus, workplace and site used for work or study purposes. It includes field and research stations, buildings, grounds, vehicles, farms and commercial operations.

(8) Carer - a person who has responsibility for the care of a child(ren) at the time relevant to the application of the Procedure.

(9) Infant – A child under the age of 12 months.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(10)  Employee Wellbeing Policy

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Employees  Advise managers of:
needs for pregnancy-related adjustments
needs for infant feeding facilities or support
intentions to bring children to campus on an occasional basis
Managers  Ensure that any reasonable adjustment required to accommodate a pregnant employee is made
Ensure access to an appropriate space, and sufficient time, is provided to employees who need to breastfeed or express breast milk
Assess requests to bring children to campus on an occasional basis and not unreasonably refuse requests

Part B - Pregnancy at Work

(11) Victoria University (VU) supports the right of employees to choose to balance work and family responsibilities and understands the importance of a safe pregnancy for both mother and child.

(12) The University recognises that combining pregnancy or potential pregnancy with work may raise additional issues of health and safety. VU will make reasonable workplace adjustments where practicable to accommodate any effects of pregnancy and minimise risk for pregnant and potentially pregnant employees.

(13) Reasonable adjustments may include (but are not limited to):

  1. Reduced hours (with corresponding pro-rata salary decrease)
  2. Adjusted start and finish times
  3. Increased breaks of shorter duration
  4. Temporary changes in duties (for example reduction in the amount of time spent standing, travelling, relief from lifting or exposure to substances potentially harmful to the pregnant person or unborn child)
  5. Changes in workplace conditions (for example exemption from wearing a uniform, provision of an ergonomic desk, or of seating for roles usually conducted standing)
  6. Flexible work arrangements (for instance, leave for appointments)

Part C - Infant Feeding on Campus

(14) VU supports parents of infant children who are being partially or wholly milk-fed to meet this need. This includes employees who have become parents via surrogacy or adoption.

(15) This may include expressing, breast or bottle feeding a child or children on a University campus or associated location (including a University children's centre), or attending another location for the purposes of expressing, breast or bottle feeding if this can be reasonably accommodated.

(16) VU will identify spaces for the purposes of breast/bottle feeding or expressing. Identified spaces will include as many of the following as possible:

  1. A convenient, quiet and private (secure/lockable) space to feed or express milk
  2. Comfortable seating (e.g. armchair)
  3. A clean and safe environment for changing nappies
  4. Hot and cold running water and hand drying facilities
  5. A refrigerator
  6. Waste disposal
  7. Appropriate signage

Part D - Children on Campus

(17) VU recognises that employees who are parents or carers of children may, on occasion, need to bring children to campus with them, due to unexpected failures of childcare, school closures, school holidays, appointments, breastfeeding requirements, and similar factors.

(18) Children must not be routinely brought onto campus in place of other childcare arrangements.

(19) Any children on campus arrangements must not unreasonably interfere with operational requirements.

(20) A child who is unable to attend school or normal childcare facilities due to illness must not be brought to the University. In cases where a child is ill, employees are able to access appropriate leave provisions, or in some cases, working at home flexibility, for the purpose of caring for the child.

(21) Certain areas of the University may have supplementary policies or guidelines relating to children that must be consistent with overall University policy.

(22) Unless expressly authorised by the relevant manager after an appropriate consideration of risks, children are not permitted in the following areas:

  1. Laboratories, workshops, plant rooms and clinical areas;
  2. Agricultural, horticultural or other science based areas that store associated chemicals, liquids or equipment;
  3. Construction sites, areas where minor works or maintenance are being conducted or where machinery may be in use;
  4. Student residential areas operated by the University;
  5. Food preparation areas, kitchens, or areas where cleaning or associated chemicals may be found;
  6. Areas containing Sport Science (Physiology) fitness and exercise equipment, floor based heaters and wet floors; and
  7. Any other hazardous areas.

(23) The University requires that (except in the case of children attending campus child care or University sports camps):

  1. children brought onto a University campus or associated site are fully supervised at all times by a parent or carer;
  2. the parent/carer must not ask or expect other employees or students to take care of their child(ren); and
  3. responsibility for the safety and well being of the child(ren) resides with the parent/carer.

(24) If employees wish to bring children into the  workplace, they should request permission from their manager, specifying the length of time and any relevant frequency (if not a single ad hoc request). Requests should always be made in advance, unless exceptional circumstances prevent this.

(25) Where reasonable, such requests will be treated sympathetically by the manager. However, requests which could place a child in danger, cause undue stress or interference to other employees, or cause damage to the work environment will not be approved.