Infants welcome at Iowa workplace

A Midwest division of Girl Scouts of the United States of America is allowing employees to bring their newborns into the office daily.

The Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa (GSGI) office is trying out the Infants-at-Work Pilot program, which allows parents to bring their infants into work with them every day until they are six-months old or begin to crawl, whichever comes first.

This program is one benefit included in the company’s parental leave package. Other benefits include eight weeks of paid leave for new parents (via birth or adoption) as well as a five-day paid bereavement period in the event of a miscarriage. The Infants-at-Work program kicks in after someone utilizes the paid parental leave.

Source: GSGI

“We want to practice what we preach, and normalize a reality where having children and advancing your career are not mutually exclusive,” said Beth Shelton, GSGI CEO, in a blog post about the changes.

Shelton also noted the struggles women can face when balancing starting a family and moving forward in their careers. After much consideration, GSGI found that this approach worked well for their office environment. While noting that it may not work for every environment, attention should be paid to making sure paternal policies are fair and flexible.

“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,” she wrote.

GSGI isn’t the first company to offer this benefit. Other companies like Badger Healthy Body Care has been offering the benefit for a few years with similar stipulations to GSGI. However, this program pays the employee for 30 hours per week, leaving roughly two daily unpaid hours to tend to the baby’s needs.

Nearly 200 companies offer the benefit, according to the Parenting in the Workplace Institute. The group provides resources for making these policies a formal program in a workplace.