Helen Badger, employment law expert, Browne Jacobson
Whilst it might be government policy to assist working parents this doesn’t extend to the sort of activity you are suggesting. It is of course good practice to ensure flexibility for working parents but allowing your employees to use the IT systems in this way would appear to go above and beyond this flexibility.
You indicate that your IT policy allows limited access to the internet for personal use. This employee’s proposal is likely to exceed what your company has deemed as acceptable personal use, and it would be reasonable not to allow it. To do so could set a precedent and lead to other employees taking advantage. I would also be concerned about the amount of time this employee would spend monitoring her child and the impact this could have on her work.
The downside to rejecting her request is that you could end up with a disgruntled employee who, because of her dissatisfaction, becomes less productive. If this is an employee who is likely to react in this way then you could agree to the proposal on a trial basis with strict rules as to when and for how long she can access the internet for these purposes. Bear in mind though, if you allow this request, it may be difficult to justify refusing other requests for access to the internet and could open the floodgates.
Helen can be contacted at: [email protected]
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