BookmarkBookmarkTick

Infants in the Workplace: Would You Sign Up for the Program?

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
March 2, 2017
Hero Image
Image: Shutterstock

We say it again and again: the 12 weeks of federally-mandated (but not necessarily paid) maternity leave is less than ideal. Some companies have done employees a solid and extended it — most recently Netflix, offering a full year of paid leave. But other companies — about 200 nationwide — are taking a different approach, inviting newborns into the office. And parents seem to love it.

Take the Washington State Department of Health in Olympia, for example. TODAY reports that it recently implemented an " Infants at Work Policy," allowing moms and dads to bring babies between six weeks and six months old to the office. At eight weeks postpartum, Marissa VanHoozer was back at work at the Department of Health. And baby Gavin slept in a bassinet on her desk.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive. I don’t think I had a single complaint during the entire time that Gavin was here,” VanHoozer told TODAY. “Instead of calling them coworkers, they’ve just become Gavin’s aunties and uncles.”

Skeptical? The  Parenting in the Workplace Institute, which heads up initiatives like the one in Olympia, understands the reservations of coworkers. So they’ve suggested some guidelines:

  • The program should be limited to younger babies who can’t crawl yet.
  • Babies can’t be disruptive; working parents need to attend to a fussy baby right away.
  • Parents need to pre-plan backup care. Headed to a meeting that can’t involve baby? Work out an arrangement in advance for a coworker (or two) to serve as babysitter.
  • Establish a baby-free zone for any employees bothered by the infant.

For smaller companies that can’t quite afford to offer paid leave — but wish to retain employees — it’s certainly a program to think about. Moms (and dads) can spend as much time with baby as possible without worrying about income taking a hit from maternity leave.

Related Video
New Gerber baby, named Zane

Meet Gerber’s 2021 Spokesbaby and First-Ever Chief Growing Officer

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
06/28/2021
Country singer Chris Lane performing on stage at a concert.

Check Out Singer Chris Lane’s Newest Song, Dedicated to His Newborn Son

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
06/16/2021
Overhead view of flowers and mother's day card.

This Is the Most Popular Mother’s Day Flower in Each State

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/22/2021
Celebrities from left, Kristen Wiig, Jhené Aikon and Jessica Alba.

8 Celeb-Approved Gifts to Buy Moms This Mother’s Day

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
04/14/2021
Co-founder of Melissa and Doug, Melissa Bernstein sitting and contemplating on scenic rocks by water.

One Thing Melissa & Doug’s Co-Founder Wants All Parents to Stop Doing

profile picture of Melissa Bernstein
Melissa Bernstein
Melissa & Doug, Co-Founder and COO
The author and her husband and daughter, pictured against wall with fall leaves.

Mom Opens Up About Shaping a Cultural Identity for Her Kids

profile picture of Avani Modi Sarkar
Avani Modi Sarkar
Co-founder of Modi Toys
Article removed.