Connecting state and local government leaders
Starting next month, some state employees in New Hampshire will be allowed to bring their infants to work.
Beginning in January, every day will be “Bring Your Baby To Work Day” for state employees in New Hampshire.
Gov. Chris Sununu this month signed an executive order allowing parents and eligible guardians of infants between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 months to bring their child to work, with some restrictions. The policy is optional, meaning a parent’s agency must have chosen to participate. Each employee also needs prior authorization from human resources and must complete an individualized care plan for the infant.
The order also mandates various safety measures, including checks of each parent’s workspace and the appointment of a designated caregiver who can step in if the parent requires assistance.
Sununu, a Republican, drafted the executive order with input from the state Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Justice. The policy, he said, is designed to help the state compete with private employers in a competitive economy.
“‘Infants in the Workplace’ is a game-changer,” he said in a statement. “These efforts are helping move New Hampshire forward as a place people want to work and to help state government stay competitive in such a strong economy.”
As of Dec. 9, more than 20 state agencies had chosen to participate in the program, including the education department, the health and human services department, the governor’s office and the liquor commission. All participating agencies must have at least one diaper changing station and give lactating mothers flexible schedules to breastfeed, according to the order.
At least five other states—Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Vermont and Washington—have similar policies in place. Supporters say the policies give families the option to balance employment with childcare.
“Research shows that allowing parents to remain with their infants in the earliest stage of life allows supports critical bonding, healthy infant brain development, and parental well-being,” Sununu’s office said in a statement. “This initiative provides parents an option to remain in the workforce, improves employee retention, optimizes parent-infant bonding and breastfeeding, improves the health of both the parent and baby, helps our employees save on child-care costs and increases job satisfaction and a positive work-life balance.”
Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent at Route Fifty.