Bringing your baby to work

Becky - posted on 04/29/2011 ( 59 moms have responded )

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http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/...

This company allows women - and men - to bring their newborns to work up until they are 6 months old. Not as in, has a daycare on site, but the babies can actually be right in their parents' cubicles or offices with them. They have quiet rooms and back-up babysitters as well. They say it's worked really well for them.

What do you think?
Personally, I love it! I still think our year long maternity leave is a better system, partly because I can't imagine having to get up and go to work when I was up every 2 hours the night before with my newborn. But I think this is a great alternative!

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Carla - posted on 04/29/2011

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What happens in structured babies-at-work programs (like at the company in the CNN piece) is that coworkers end up bonding with the babies that come to work, and they then voluntarily interact, play with, and hold the babies (while still completing their own work). It actually turns into a community structure, so it's not just the parent needing to meet all of the baby's needs for interaction and stimulation. The babies that come to work under structured programs tend to be overwhelmingly mellow and happy, in large part because of the social stimulation of the workplace (and because their parents meet their needs quickly to avoid disturbing coworkers). A lot of companies are skeptical of the concept initially, but once they give it a shot (as long as they set it up right), they find that it has *lots* of benefits for the company as well as for parents and babies.

I've been studying this concept for the past five years, and our non-profit, the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, helps organizations to set up sustainable babies-at-work programs. We also help parents to propose these programs to their organizations. If anyone would like more information or assistance (we aren't charging for our services), feel free to contact me at carla @ babiesatwork.org (no spaces). There's also a lot of information about these programs on our website:
http://www.babiesatwork.org

Our list of confirmed baby-inclusive organizations (nearly 150 of them) is here:
http://www.babiesatwork.org/companies.ht...

Carla Moquin
President, Parenting in the Workplace Institute

Jodi - posted on 04/29/2011

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I question whether these parents would actually be able to get their work done effectively, and for that reason, I believe many other systems would work better. I have a business at home, and I KNOW I didn't get nearly as much work done when my daughter was young as I get done now that she is at school and I am not having to attend to her, so I just can't see that it is a great solution for the employer.

I do think it is a great idea for temporary situations. When my son was young and I was working full time, he was in daycare. However, there were times when he couldn't go (i.e, he had a bit of a cold), or there was the time he had chickenpox (yes, everyone in the office had already had them!!!), or simply when daycare was closed for a few weeks over summer and I had to work, where I was able to take him in with me just so I could keep on top of the really critical stuff. Having that flexibility really worked for me. I had a large enough office that I could put a toybox in the corner, and he would be happy playing for half the day, but all day was a stretch.

Isobel - posted on 05/01/2011

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America is the USA, North America is our continent...I've heard a few people on com claim that we're all "American" because we live in the "Americas" but that's dumb. Everybody knows that if you are an American you live in the US

[deleted account]

Ugh...Jodi, it is WEEKS, I don't know why I've been writing "months" all this time. It is 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which is about 3 months.

Sorry! I must be loosing my mind...

Isobel - posted on 04/30/2011

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ahh see, EI pays our leave (we pay into it our whole working lives) and temps generally get paid less than a full-time salaried worker so the fees added to their pay generally equals the salary of the full time worker.

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Sherri - posted on 05/16/2011

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Why is a baby going to work with you jail?? Positively makes zero sense to me!! Not to mention I would do a thousand times better job with my baby with me then worrying about them being in daycare.

Sharon - posted on 05/16/2011

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I thought people were generally against babies in jail?

I guess if you're not getting any maternity leave, the company deserves the half assed job you'll perform.

But as the coworker who would be picking up the slack, I'd be pissed off.

Sherri - posted on 05/16/2011

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Funny the only ones complaining about the US's maternity leave time seems to be non American's.

Sherri - posted on 05/16/2011

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I think it is great. Very inventive and family friendly. Especially for the moms that can't afford to stay home but need to get back to work.

Shae - posted on 05/16/2011

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I think if it was implemented properly it would be a good idea, but that would be very difficult, it depends on the people that you work with, and of course your job.
For example it would be easier to implement with a desk job, whereas if you were working at a vets or on a construction site it would be a ridiculous proposition.
But when I was pregnant for my daughter I would go in to my mothers work and volunteer a bit of my time to help out, it seemed fair that I helped the business when they were letting her be with me when I was having my daughter. So everyone saw the belly grow, and every saw her early on because I'd stop by to take my mum to lunch with my daughter, even now when she doesn't work there anymore people still ask how my daughter is and like seeing her. So in that type of environment I think it would be good to implement, but in a high-stress environment the crying of a baby might be too much, so they would need to implement a 'parenting' room to help settle the baby if they decided to put the program into effect.
I think it's a good idea, but many businesses would have to spend a LOT of money to get it into effect, and they probably wouldn't think it was worth it.

Casey - posted on 05/03/2011

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I think it's a fantastic idea and more companies should try it, obviously it's not going to be suitable in all work places but I think that there is alot more companies and buisnesses out there that could give this arrangement a go and they might just be pleasantly suprised with the results :)

Veronique - posted on 05/03/2011

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I remember when i had my first i took her to work with me 3 times and never got any work done at all. Forget putting her down for a nap because there was to much to see and to many people to observe, so i had a very cranky child on my hands.

Vegemite - posted on 05/02/2011

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@Cyndel it's also a good way to get fired. Lets face it if someone is incompetent or cannot complete their work load then the company they work for has no choice but to replace them with someone who can get the job done.

Jennifer - posted on 05/02/2011

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This is fantastic. A very progressive step forward for a U.S. company.

I totally agree that a year long maternity leave is much better. When my son was a newborn, I was totally absorbed by him. Newborns need constant attention, and most moms are walking zombies for the first year, so not sure how they can be that productive since their attention is being strongly pulled in 2 different directions. But, it's much better than paying someone to watch your baby while you go to work.

Cyndel - posted on 05/02/2011

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Better then nothing or having to leave baby 6-12 weeks after birth, too bad they don't have an on sight daycare for the older babies up to preschool age.

Vegemite - posted on 05/02/2011

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We own our own business and i was also asked to fill in at work after being at a work party 3 vet nurses called in sick with food poisoning when baby was 8months old..... didn't work hardly any work was done only tending for the baby.
So i think this situation is impractical but i'm all for work place daycare especially in large organisations or buildings shared by many companies.

ShacKz - posted on 05/01/2011

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wow!!! i always said every work place should have a system such as that a day care within the job away from home....and now i see that they have a system somewhere......it would be great if it became global..Yeah!!!!!!!!!! .... i feel we should also get that year off aswell and still have global daycare...... "shackz thoughts"

Merry - posted on 05/01/2011

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Honestly I'd prefer to move to Canada! USA is ok I guess, but nothing to brag about. I don't claim to be a patriot :/ but hey, my family is here so here we stay for now. But we have our moments here and there where we seriously consider moving a few hours north into Canada!

Isobel - posted on 05/01/2011

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I HATE our Prime Minister right now...I hate that we didn't even TRY to live up to our agreement in the Kyoto Accord...I hate that while your country was discussing unfunding PP, our jerk off PM just went ahead and axed it.

There are plenty of things I don't like about my country but it's difficult to be "ashamed" of our foreign policy (mostly because we're not strong enough to bully anybody so we try to make friends with everybody instead). It would be nice if we were strong enough to stick up for ourselves though too.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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Damn Kelly, that sucks. Reading your post made me feel bad. Obviously (I hope) I don't lump Americans all together. But I also have to be honest and say that yeah, I see those tantrums too.



And I do have to say I have RARELY had the opportunity to be ashamed of my country, but there have probably been small moments in time.

[deleted account]

The people Canada, Mexico, and all of the South American countries are American, so I hate that when we hear "American" we presume it only refers to us. "United Statesians" or "United States of Americans" is long and ugly so we took over "American" simply because our founders didn't have sense enough to give us a simple name, but still, it makes us look even more conceited than we already are :P



I agree, we get a raw deal. The worst of it is that Americans (lol) are so self absorbed that they have no idea. I'm usually a pretty patriotic person, and I do love the US, don't get me wrong, but lately, I'm annoyed. Our government acts like tantruming toddlers, our people hide from facts and believe anything they hear without research, we are the world bully, not the world police. Sometimes, I'm actually ashamed to be a part of it all. I wonder if people of other developed countries are ashamed of their countries as often as intelligent Americans are ashamed of ours.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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I am curious....where is the loud mouth for right in the US for these things? It is TOTALLY possible to make this happen. Maybe not in the current economic climate, but as a future initiative, I can't see any reason why not. Richest country in the world???? BAHAHAHAHAHA.

Disclaimer: I am not laughing at the Americans here at ALL. Just government policy, which is not your fault, or any of your doing.

Krista - posted on 05/01/2011

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I agree that Americans get a raw deal. Like I said earlier, for a country that seems to value families so much, they just do NOT have a family-friendly society (i.e. healthcare, mat leave, social programs, breastfeeding support, etc.) It's a shame, and I don't know why American moms aren't demanding this.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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But aren"t the US considered North American too? Not that there's anything wrong with that either, I LOVE my American friends, but just sayin'......



Wasn't there a debaet about this one time? I'm pretty sure it got deleted and then deleted.....



I LOVE my American friends :)



I just think your policy is shit. But hey, as an Aussie, that's my prerogative.

Isobel - posted on 05/01/2011

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we're North American, not American...not that there's anything wrong with being an American...some of my favorite people are.

I just think you guys get a raw deal, that's all.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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Oh to not be American :D

Although I'm not quite sure what term I should use, because Canadians are technically Americans. Should we say USAians?

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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OK, well, THAT confuses me MUCH less, LOL.

12 weeks SUCKS. We get 12 MONTHS.

Jodi - posted on 05/01/2011

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No, I still couldn't find in that Act where it keeps anyone's job open for 12 months :) But anyway. It does sound complicated.

[deleted account]

Sorry, I didn't state that clearly, I was in a hurry. American companies are not required to pay any maternity leave, FMLA requires them to keep the job open for 12 months. If the employee does not qualify for FMLA, businesses are required to give full time employees 6 weeks off for maternity leave, but they are not required to pay for it. And yes, only businesses with 50+ employees (which is a good way to stop smaller businesses from growing, but that is another thread)

Businesses are not required to offer short term disability insurance, but if they do, that policy is required to pay for no less than 6 weeks of time off at no less than 50% of the employee's regular pay at no additional charge (meaning they cannot charge women more than men). It is VERY expensive and many smaller companies cannot afford it (usually the employer pays most of these premiums).
Obviously, it would be very difficult to get good employees without these benefits, so smaller companies often offer 6 weeks of paid maternity leave on their own or more flexible paid time off options to accommodate new mothers. Either way, you have the cost of the paid time off, or the cost of the insurance premiums.

There is no required paid time off beyond 6 weeks at this time in the US from employers or insurance agencies, but you can take out a private short term disability policy on your own. This would not be connected to your employer, be paid for entirely by you, and must be purchased BEFORE you are pregnant. This is the best option for women in the US who know they will want to take more than the standard 6 weeks off. It is not based on your salary though.

Does that clear it up some? It is so complicated over here! I do wish there was more help with these costs from our government, but at the same time, it is not that we are not willing to pay higher taxes, it is that we do not trust our government to use the money appropriately. Which is incredibly sad, but unfortunately.....true.

[deleted account]

I am a mother of 5 and personally I would never have taken my babies with me to work even if I had the opportunity. It isn't fair to the co-workers that have to pick up the slack and would only garner irritation for the parents as they can't devote their time to their work as they should be doing at work. IMO If you want to have kids then either be able to take off for however long you want or be willing to let someone else raise them. (sorry, daycare)

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2011

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Hm, I just looked it up, and according to the Family and Medical Leave Act, only companies with more than 50 employees are obligated to give 12 weeks unpaid leave (to qualifying employees). Beyond that, they don't have to keep any jobs open......So where in the US is it legislated that people are entitled to 6 weeks paid and 12 months unpaid? I am really confused. You are in the US aren't you?



From what I gather, I lot of people claim disability for that 6 weeks, but that's not exactly paid Maternity leave.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2011

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Ok, thanks Kelly. I thought it was less than that in the US by law. I just had a feeling you guys got less unpaid leave than that. I thought I remembered someone saying 18 weeks at one point....but possibly have my wires crossed.

[deleted account]

Jodi, They have to keep the job open for 12 months (and she must still have access to her group health benefits if she had them), but they do not have to pay her salary while she is out beyond 6 weeks. At the end of the 12 months, she can return to her original job at her original pay if she chooses to.

When I used temps, the hourly rate was about the same as what I paid my employees, but once you add the "start up fees", which cover things like interviews, resume review, payment systems, etc. it is much more than the regular employee costs.

Isobel - posted on 04/30/2011

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BUT...like I said, Americans will not pay higher taxes for ANYTHING...not even the right to stay home with their baby for a reasonable amount of time.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2011

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But Kelly, in the US, they don't have to keep your job open for you beyond a certain number of weeks do they? So let's say someone wants 6 months maternity leave and saves up for it, what are the chances she won't have a job to go back to?

[deleted account]

"wouldn't a temp get more done than a woman who is taking care of her baby?"



Yes, but will she get so much more done that she can justify the cost of her pay, the other employee's pay, the temp agency's fees, and the cost of the hiring process? Probably not. For most normal, office type jobs, productivity should only suffer 30-40% with baby in tow, which would not justify the cost of the temp.



I don't see why women who want longer maternity leaves don't just save up enough $$ to cover their bills for they want to stay home before they have the baby. That's what I did, and it worked well for me. Really, if you put the amount most of us pay toward short term disability (which is usually what pays about 70% of maternity leave pay) into our own low yield account, we could save up enough for a year off in about 5 years or less.

Isobel - posted on 04/30/2011

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AND...their taxes would go up, and if there's one thing I've learned in my many years on this planet is that you CAN NOT raise American taxes for any reason!

Krista - posted on 04/30/2011

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Personally, I don't understand why the U.S. can't implement a system like ours, where we pay premiums to an Employment Insurance plan, which covers us if we're unemployed OR covers us for a year-long maternity leave. That way, the employer doesn't have to pay the salary of someone who isn't there, some other individual gets a year-long temp position which will help them learn new skills and make them more employable, and the mother doesn't have to put a 6-week old infant in daycare.



It's win-win-win!

Isobel - posted on 04/30/2011

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wouldn't a temp get more done than a woman who is taking care of her baby?

Don't get me wrong, it's far better for a woman who HAS to go back to work to have her baby with her BUT...holy shit balls...I can't imagine HAVING to do that.

[deleted account]

"I don't understand why, instead, this company doesn't invest in paid maternity leave it it cares so much about its workers and their infants." Jodi

The reason is that they probably cannot afford to invest in that without reducing their workforce and thus, putting more responsibility on the workers they keep, and putting those they are forced to "let go" in order to cover the cost of the maternity leave out of work. More people would have to loose, so that only a few new mothers could have the benefit of longer maternity leave. This is a great effort by a company to accommodate their new mothers even though they cannot afford to go the whole nine yards with extended maternity leave (they do still grant the standard 6 week leave in addition to this measure, so moms can have those first weeks all to themselves to adjust and bond).

It is not meant to be a permanent solution, just as maternity leave is not permanent, they are both short term solutions to allow baby and mom to bond. You still have to let go of baby when maternity leave is up, it is basically the same as letting go when "bring baby to work" time is over. You don't expect a company to pay you to stay home until the child is an adult--both have to end.

[deleted account]

While I applaud the concept, I don't think it's all that practical for every work enviornment and situation. I do see a lot of distractons and time away from the assignments. You can't put 100% effort into the work, and can't put 100% into your infant. Again, I applaud the idea, but I think there are flaws.

Bonnie - posted on 04/30/2011

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It would be a huge distraction for me. I wouldn't be able to get anything done. Then what happens at 6 months? You have to let go from your child anyways? I think that may be even worse.

Merry - posted on 04/30/2011

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If every baby was like Eric when he was that age then I'd assume it would be great!
He was happy to be in the sling almost all day, breastfed alot and slept alot. He only had to be out of the sling to change diapers and that's the only time he really got fussy! Lol. Sling babies I could see being quite easy and not disruptive at an office setting.

Jodi - posted on 04/29/2011

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Very true Sara.

But again, I still have to say I think it could potentially be a distraction. Not all babies are settled and would sleep most of the time, so it wouldn't work in every situation. I think it would really depend on the child. I worked at home until my son was 6 weeks old, and it was HARD work to juggle the feeding schedules and the work. I just don't think it is ideal at all as a permanent ongoing solution.

I don't understand why, instead, this company doesn't invest in paid maternity leave it it cares so much about its workers and their infants.

[deleted account]

You have to remember though, they are talking about babies 6 months and under. They sleep most of the day. Sure there will be times when they need your attention to be fed or changed or cuddled. At home with my two children it's my 3 year old that keeps me distracted from housework...not my infant. My infant provides me with a nice little break where I get to sit down every 2-3 hours. =)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/29/2011

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I guess I am the only one that would see this as a distraction? I would see having to hold the baby constantly, or entertaining them. Can't get much done one handed....This is a perfect reason to just increase maternity leave. I don't find that having an infant at work being a good thing. Maybe it is just because of the line of work I do. The baby would have to be locked in a kennel, hearing all the dogs and cats.

[deleted account]

It would not be practical in my call center environment. When you're on a call, you have to focus 100% on that. plus the normal sounds of children would be incredibly distracting.

Tara - posted on 04/29/2011

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I agree Sarah, if longer mat leave isn't an option or women would like to return to work but have their babies near by, this is amazing.
My former boss wanted me to come back to work before my year was up, he told me I could bring the baby if I wanted to, lol he was desperate to get me back but I declined. lol
Great step in the right direction.

[deleted account]

I think it is a fabulous idea. Looking at it from the employer's perspective, even with the lower productivity, having new parents working with their kids in tow is still much more cost effective than paying the new parent his/her salary while they are on leave AND paying the temp who does their job while they are away.
It is true short term insurance usually pays the maternity leave after 6 weeks, but I think this policy would reduce the cost of those premiums for the company, and thus benefit the workers with higher take home pay.

Obviously, longer maternity leave is better, but I think this is a good option where that is not feasible.

[deleted account]

I think it's a great idea. As a former teacher, I couldn't see this working at my job. But I may have thought a little harder about leaving work if there was a daycare for teacher's kids at my school. Then I would have been able to see my baby and breastfeed during my break and lunch. I loved my job, but I just couldn't see leaving my baby for 8-10 hours straight.

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