2 February 2008

Bringing our Children to Work

Sometimes we can’t make it to work because our children are sick, the daycare worker is ill or the school is cancelled and there is no backup plan. What do you do? One woman I worked with used to take “snow days”. Because we live in Canada, many times the reason she couldn’t make it in was because of freezing rain or a winter snowstorm. She would use her vacation days whenever she had to stay home to take care of her children. Would a better solution have been to bring the children to work?

A company in the States has a family-friendly policy that allows women to bring their nursing babes to work. Faced with four executives leaving on maternity leave at a crucial time for this company the decision was made to let the new moms bring their newborn babies to work and it has worked out well for the families and the company. Click here for the full story.

With more and more women in high management jobs it is not always easy to let them go for the full maternity leave, which is a greater incentive for companies to look at other childcare options. This of course will filter down to other working women, with us all having this choice. But do we want it?

Other alternatives are daycare centres who are partnering with corporations for backup childcare. The reason behind it is to relieve the parents’ minds when small emergencies crop up so there will be a place for the child to go and the parent can still go to work. It is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee. Click here for a company that is doing just that.

I have always thought having an onsite employer-sponsored daycare centre would have been a great solution. Offices are not equipped to handle small children, accidents can happen, it can be disturbing to the other workers, and the mother’s would be distracted with childcare needs.

If there was a daycare centre adjacent to the office that was staffed with qualified daycare personnel, with easy access for moms who are nursing, it would provide a safe environment for the children and a good alternative for parents.

As a single working mom that would have been ideal for me. There is a lot of stress getting the children ready in the morning and off to daycare, as well as managing to get yourself to work on time. At the end of the day there is the mad rush to get to the daycare before supper to pick up your child so you won’t disturb the babysitter’s family time. Having a daycare at work would have been a great option.

On the one hand the government is offering longer time off for maternity leave (in Canada it is now up to one year with benefits) and in other cases some companies are giving the option to bring our children to work. I find it is a bit of a mixed message, but we each have to do what we feel is best in our own situation. Some women have even continued to work and their husbands have stayed home to raise the children, with great results.

Whatever works best for the family, and as long as the children are taken care of and women who want to are able to pursue their careers. If it was my choice, however, I would take the year off.


godaycare said...

Finding a daycare that will provide healthy and secure environment is a chore. For that reason we created www.godaycare.com a Canadian childcare listings with reviews from parents site who's sole purpose is to provide parents in Canada with a tool to find a daycare and post/read reviews and comments. We certainly hope this will help those affected the most, the children.

Anonymous said...

Actually, dozens of U.S. companies let babies come to work for the first several months of life:


Patricia Robb said...

I had honestly never heard of bringing your baby to work. Maybe it is because my daughter is now 28 so it's been a long while since I had to think about childcare options. Or maybe bringing babies to work is not something that happens a lot, if at all, in Canada.
In the article I linked to they actually allow dogs at work too but had to put their foot down on bringing the goat as it was just too disruptive.
Thanks for your comment and I will check out the site you refer me too.
Patricia :)

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely against bringing your children to work. As it is, we have so many assistants in our company that come in late, leave early, run home when their children are sick, etc. This adds to the work load to those of us who don't have children and work 8:00 - 5:00 and bring work home on top of that. If you are in a position where you can bring your laptop home and get some work done there, great, but if you can't, then it is a extra work for the rest of us. Find a job that allows for "mothers hours" or find part-time work. I find this especially offensive when these are assistants working for Executive Vice Presidents.

Anonymous said...

I work for a small-home based company in Minnesota. I can bring my child to work, work from hope via VPN/laptop connection or take the day off. What I am unable to do because of my situation only falls back on my boss, which makes him realize what I do for him every day. It's a win-win for me!