Wow! This Organization Lets a Mom Bring Her Baby to Work for 6 Months After Maternity Leave
“We want to normalize a reality where having children and advancing your career are not mutually exclusive."
One of the hardest things for a working mom is to go back to work after maternity leave. After all, until we see the Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed, mothers can only have 60 days of paid leave with their newborn.
In the United States, however, the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa has introduced a new policy called “Infants at Work” that allows all new parents to bring their babies to work with them every single day up to six months after returning from a paid parental leave.
The non-profit organization’s chief executive officer, Beth Wood Shelton, announced the happy news on her personal Facebook account in January 2019, saying, “We want to practice what we preach and normalize a reality where having children and advancing your career are not mutually exclusive.”
Shelton, who is a mom of three, was inspired to create change because she experienced the difficulties of balancing motherhood and her career firsthand. “I have felt, deep in my bones, the fatigue of reporting to a board of directors after being up all night with a newborn; juggling media appearances while frantically cleaning spit up off my lapel; and shaping strategic plans while seeking an appropriate place to pump at executive meeting,” she writes on Facebook.
Shelton adds, “The impossible juggle of work and life, performer and mother, shapes my very DNA.”
The non-profit organization, which empowers girls around the state of Iowa and prepares them for leadership roles, has a workforce of over 120 full-time and part-time employees. Shelton admits that babies can be “disruptive,” but she’s willing to let them in if it means keeping her best employees in the company.
“We know babies cry, we know they need attention and care and diapers and quiet places. And yes, we also know that productivity will dip for parents who are multi-tasking with their infant present.
“But we also know that we want to attract and retain talented employees, provide economic savings for employees, and support employees in their transition back to work. 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,” Shelton writes.
The Infants at Work initiative is genuinely groundbreaking, especially in the United States where only a few states have mandated-by-law maternity leave. It’s a little better in the Philippines, but again, not all companies offer flexible options for mothers. However, some companies do take the extra step to keep working moms happy.
This outsourcing company has a child care center inside their offices where you can drop off your kids before you go to your shift. It is managed by registered nurses and child psychologists, according to their website, so its employees are assured that their children will be safe while they are at work.
The food and beverage company prides itself for having a “joyful workplace” with working moms enjoying benefits like private breastfeeding rooms and a kids’ play area if moms bring their kids to work.
In 2016, the consumer goods company opened a new headquarters in Bonifacio Global City, and the modern working space includes a daycare center for mom employees, not to mention, a karaoke room to help relieve work stress! By the way, it also provides female employees with 120-day maternity leave.
For other parents employed in companies that don’t allow children in the workplace just yet, another option is to find a daycare center that works like a babysitting facility (like how they do it abroad). You can drop off your kids before work and pick them up after. Of course, it also has its advantages and disadvantages. (Click here to read one mom’s full experience.)
There are various solutions to support new parents in the workplace. Shelton lists it on her post — extended paid parental leave, on-site daycare, and telecommuting, among others. We can only hope that more employers take action and find a system that will make working conditions for parents a little bit easier.
“Empowering people is our rally cry,” the CEO shares. “It’s tiny and comes in swaddling clothes. But it’s a start.”