Protecting Minors in the Workspace
“Although businesses do not necessarily have to develop a stand-alone child rights policy, it is important that all companies include a statement of their commitment to fulfil their duties on all human rights – including children’s rights – in their existing policies and codes of conduct and, when material, include policy elements and code of conduct provisions that address specific child rights impacts.” - Children’s Rights in Policies and Codes of Conduct, UNICEF/Save the Children, p.4
Allow children to accompany parents in the workspace as needed for parent artist accessibility and participation
Give parents agency of child proximity, allowing for the child to be on/near/on-site with the parent as needed.
For mobile and active age of infant to toddler in spaces that are not child-proofed and/or have rapid activity, allowing parent to baby-wear or use a pack & play is recommended for a safe and contained space for the child that is both mobile and storable.
While some companies feel that excluding minors all together from the space may be the easier solution, this approach is neither realistic nor inclusive to a large artist demographic that significantly impacts gender equity. We believe this exclusion exhibits a flawed value system and encourage theatres to elevate their work culture by implementing simple steps for parent inclusion through access and protection for minors in the workspace.
Ask the parent’s permission both before taking photographs and before posting or sharing any photography online or in company materials including image of or information on the child(ren)
Even for parents with whom an employee has a personal relationship, identity consent and child’s rights encourage for parental consent for photographs and sharing of images to be standard protocol.
No employee of the organization should be alone with the child(ren) without direct consent from the parent
If the company provides support through shared monitoring of the child(ren), direct parent consent for each individual at each change of monitoring should be standard protocol.
Permission and consent practices apply to physical contact with child(ren) and parents as authority
Permission should be given first by the parent: “May I hold your baby?” If parent gives permission, ask the minor, including pre-verbal: “May I hold you?” If child does not consent, consent should be respected. Parents may provide distinction between the child’s need for space and the child’s need for comfort. If minor needs to be in the supervision of the individual but does not want contact, the recommendation is to remove physical contact while the adult provides care through mindful watching.
Permission and consent also applies to the parent giving direct consent to activity involving vulnerability such as diaper changes or bathroom breaks. If the parent prefers exclusive rights to assisting in these vulnerable activities, providing breaks to facilitate is recommended.
Communicate your standards with your staff, volunteers, and visiting artists verbally and in writing as a positive agenda point and integral part of your companies’ value system to: 1) Support parent artist collaborators as an organization that values inclusion and access, 2) Abide by recommendations established as a global effort to ensure that all human rights and dignities are upheld, including those of parents and children in the workplace.
“It should be publicly available, communicated internally and externally; receive sign-off from the highest level in the company; and be embedded in all relevant policies and procedures – including, for example, standards for the supply chain, statements of ethics, and employee policies and codes of conduct.” - Children’s Rights in Policies and Codes of Conduct, UNICEF/Save the Children, p.7
All recommendations listed above are not legally binding or protective items but recommendations to begin shaping a family-accessible and safe workspace internally.
Recommended resources for institutions and educational facilities to become child-safe: