One company is making it easier for new parents to return to work. On January 8, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa announced their “Infants at Work” program which allows parents to bring their babies to the office every day for the first six months.
“We want to practice what we preach, and normalize a reality where having children and advancing your career are not mutually exclusive,” wrote CEO Beth Shelton on Facebook. “We know that parenthood doesn’t change the skills, dedication and experiences that we so highly value in our people. We want to support women who choose to nurse, and support babies in a developmental period of importance.”
As a mother of three herself, Shelton says that she understands firsthand what she calls “the impossible juggle of work and life.” At the recommendation of a pregnant employee, she created the new “Infants at Work” program to ease the transition of new parents, including guardians, back into work following the two months of paid leave the company already offers.
The CEO also admits she realizes that babies can be disruptive in the workplace and that the new parent’s productivity may decline. However, she notes that “we’ve developed policies about the “hows and wheres” of who can hold babies (other staff who volunteer to be a designated support person) and where crying is welcomed (a designated parent & baby room).”
This week, at Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa we announced our innovative new benefit, Infants at Work. This new policy…
Shelton hopes that the new initiative will set a precedent for the rest of the country, where working parents still struggle with inflexible hours and minimal (if any) paid leave. “We’ve invested in change, not just in our future, but in the future for all working parents, to raise the bar on what we could and should be doing to advocate for equality.”