MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a growing concept across the nation; according to the Utah-based Parenting in the Workplace Institute, over 200 American organizations and businesses that allow parents to take their babies to work have been recorded by the institute.
Now, you can add the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa to that list.
In a statement from CEO Beth Shelton on Tuesday, the organization announced "Infants at Work", allowing all new parents, including Dads and guardians, to bring their infants to work with them every day, up to 6 months (or when they are crawling, whichever comes first). The announcement comes as part of the organization's plan to be a more engaging atmosphere and help with a work/life balance. The idea came from a suggestion of an employee preparing to welcome her first child.
While her two kids are 2 and 5 years old now, Crystal Brower supports an infants at work policy.
"It's up to the parents if they want to bring their kids with them if it's a rule they're allowing."
And she would've loved bringing her babies to work.
"I would want to be able to have them with me everyday for as long as I could, because they're only little for so long."
The Girl Scouts' Lindsey Swartwood sees a world of benefit for the babies who get extra parental bonding time.
"Those first few months for your child, it's such a strong, important time developmentally for an infant as they're growing and they're learning."
At Sunbeam Christian Childcare, Director Rhonda Dedor sees the benefits, but also the possible distractions of working parents having a baby in tow.
"I guess as an employer, I wouldn't want somebody that I expected to be doing a job to be watching their child at the same time. I see what happens to the babies in the baby room, they're demanding."
For her part, Swartwood sees the new policy as perfect for a demanding baby.
"If a baby is needing that extra time with Mom or Dad, and they're needing more attention, that staff person is able to have that quiet time with their little one."
Other staff can volunteer to be alternate care providers for infants if Mom or Dad needs to be baby free for a certain timeframe.
The new policy goes hand in hand with the organization's plan of overhauling their benefits by adding 8 weeks of paid paternal leave for all parents, and flexible work arrangements like telecommuting.