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How can we set up a kids' space at work? Should we?

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in Human Resources,People Management,The HR Specialist Forum

One of our employees would like us to designate a room as a playroom for kids. Employees could bring in their kids in case of some emergency—say, on a day that the babysitter doesn't show up. It sounds good in theory, but I'm concerned about insurance, bothering other employees and, especially, parent productivity. Any suggestions for making this work? — Gary, AZ



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Allx June 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

This is not a good idea. An extreme case of consequences took place in NW Indiana in March 2009 when a 12-yr old boy accompanying his owner-grandmother to the workplace, was allowed into the production area where a heavy steel object fell from a forklift, striking and killing the child. As much as we like to believe that parents will be responsible in tending to their children, the fact is that most are more than willing to let ‘the guys’ entertain the children while they work undisturbed, yet are quick to blame ‘the guys’ when something goes wrong. Day Cares must be licensed and eventually so will employers if the trend takes off. And there isn’t enough space on this page to begin addressing liability. One such lawsuit could be the death nell for many ordinary companies. As I said – bad idea.

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Anonymous May 27, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I am interested in hearing more because over the nearly 10 years at my employer different staff have brought their children in and had them “work” doing filing etc. because of issues with childcare. Others have even allowed them to camp out in the break room/kitchen area. Other departments have told their staff absolutely not.

Where I used to work (family owned) they had kids working in a warehouse and driving pallet jacks etc. around.

I am anxious to hear what the guidelines/parameters would be in a case like this. There are not many of us with younger kids anymore but with staff turn around you never know.

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Darrel May 26, 2009 at 6:34 pm

We are also looking into this at this time. I have checked with our insurance broker and he says it will not affect our premiums. The inspector from our state’s version of OSHA will be here next week to give his advise. We will, of course, have parents sign a liability release, and the parent must be on-site as long as the child is here. I will watch for info from others who are already doing it.

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MJ Nelson May 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I would love to hear this as well! We have allowed pets and kids on occasion. It is actually the norm at least on one side of the building. Some managers would say ‘why not..we understand’ and the other said NO! NO kids allowed!! That happened to be my boss. Ten different occassions I requested when I was in a pinch and was denied. While it seemed to be unfair there wasn’t a policy written. We contacted our insurance company for some type of rider and this is where it becomes very complicated….if you want to be a progressive employer. The policy began as a way to give the benefit to all and now is on very shaky ground with employees ticked.

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