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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Dec. 12, 2008

More policy work for council

by Erin Rosacker

Professional and Scientific Council representatives got a sneak peek at a proposed policy governing children in the workplace. Bill Diesslin, environmental health and safety assistant director, gave council members an overview of the draft policy at the council's Dec. 4 meeting.

"We are aware that this university is open, and we try to welcome people onto this campus. That is something we were trying to be mindful of during this process," Diesslin said.

The policy would apply to employees, students and visitors bringing non-student children into the workplace. The policy would not apply to:

  • "Incidental or intermittent" presence of non-student children
  • Minors enrolled or employed at ISU
  • Minors participating in "approved university camps or youth enrichment programs"
  • University residences
  • Family events and celebrations

Diesslin estimated that EH&S and risk management staff deal with situations involving children in the workplace four to six times each year.

"We have found infants in an infant seat on a lab bench. We've had situations where a graduate student has been asked to watch a faculty member's children while he or she takes care of something on campus," he said. "Those are some of the issues we wanted to address with this policy."

The draft policy states that supervisors and managers would have the authority to approve or deny the presence of children in most situations. Restrictions are placed on high-risk areas and places where confidentiality is an issue. Other factors the draft policy considers include:

  • Safety and health
  • Disruption
  • Age and behavioral characteristics
  • Nature of the workplace
  • Welcoming environment

The draft should be available for public input in the policy library soon. A discussion guide for employees and managers also is included.

Other business

Council members endorsed proposed changes in the summary dismissal policy and a response to a P&S performance management policy and program draft.

The summary dismissal policy was approved unanimously. The proposed revisions better outline procedures for requesting, approving and appealing a summary dismissal.

The recommendation to accept the performance management policy and program met with some resistance, but passed 28-6-5. The council's response detailed concerns, including:

  • Limited channels for informal grievances and appeals
  • Conflicting language dealing with protocol (including attendance) for meetings
  • Potential difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees to serve on the P&S appeal committee

The performance management program is slated for implementation in July 2009, after this year's performance appraisal process is complete. It still needs approval from the executive vice president and provost and the president. The council's endorsement included a good-faith agreement to continue work on areas of concern.


A P&S performance management policy and program earned approval from council members, but concerns will require further study.