The Nevada State Treasurer’s office recently announced its adoption of Infant to Work, a new program aiming to keep parents and infants together by allowing employees to bring their newborns to work.
The program allows new mothers and fathers to bring children up to six months of age with them into the office. Interested employees will notify their supervisor of their intent to bring their child to work and then collaboratively create a work plan “along with any necessary accommodations that may need to be made to ensure the infant can be housed safely within the work environment.”
The Infant to Work program originally started as a project of the state’s Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and progressively expanded to include the other five divisions in the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Over 170 children have accompanied a parent to work since the program’s inception.
Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine stated, “This policy will help increase employee retention, attract new talent, and decrease childcare costs for its employees.” According to Conine, finding and affording quality childcare is the single biggest barrier parents face when returning to the workforce after the birth of a child.
One treasury employee is already taking advantage of the program. Itzel Fausto asked about implementing the program while she was pregnant, and now her two-month-old daughter Diamond accompanies her to work. Fausto told a local news channel, “It is a blessing to bring your infant to work. I get emotional talking about it because it feels like not everyone gets a chance to do that. So being able to bond with your baby longer instead of having to take her to daycare is just amazing.”
Some more news from the treasurer's office: @ZConine announced a new program that will allow employees in the Treasurer's office to bring their newborn children to work. pic.twitter.com/ujhi3WssrM
— Jessica Hill (@jess_hillyeah) January 26, 2023
On its homepage, Nevada Worksite Wellness prominently features content encouraging state offices to become baby-friendly workplaces. According to the website, “The Baby-Friendly program supports a positive work/life balance, honors the employee’s contribution to the department, and shows that the company practices what is encouraged in our communities; supporting parent and infant bonding, parental well-being, healthy infant development, and breastfeeding.”
One female DHHS employee’s testimony reads: “I am so grateful for the Infant at Work Program. As a first-time new mom, being able to bring my baby to work when I returned from maternity leave has helped me bond with my baby and navigate my new work/life balance. It’s helped my overall well-being, it’s been great for my baby’s development, and it’s helped me sustain breastfeeding.”
A new father says, “I was fortunate to participate in a baby at work program, as a father. Seeing my daughter’s face every day made every day worthwhile. She brightened the day of everyone in the workplace. Looking back, I can’t imagine not having this time with her. This program is an amazing incentive, while forging a bond that lasts a lifetime.”
The Infant to Work program and initiatives to promote Baby-Friendly workplaces are particularly important in Nevada, which does not provide paid maternity leave to its employees. Instead, female state workers are expected to patch together leave from sick time, annual leave, compensatory time, short-term disability coverage, and unpaid but job-protected leave according to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
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