NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – You might start seeing more babies at work.
A new face made her debut on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday, and she’s just 10 days old.
A rules change allowed Sentor Tammy Duckworth of Illinois to nurse and care for her new baby right in the Senate chamber.
At Embark software in SoHo, they’ve “embarked” on a policy that CEO Sarita James was the first to take advantage of, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
For about six months, she brought her newborn Uma to the office.
Between nursing sessions, Uma was with her mother taking meetings, calls and a break at times with mom’s colleagues.
“Everyone in the office just loved to come over and see her, so I think in that way she was almost a morale booster for the office as well,” James said.
It turns out several hundred U.S. companies have formally adopted policies to allow newborns in the workplace with mom or dad. In Kansas City, the not-for-profit National Association of Insurance Commissioners has allowed it for 20 years.
A group that advocates for these practices acknowledges even people who love babies might not want to work with them, Aiello reported. They say companies need to be open and non-judgmental about coworkers’ concerns. Some even implement a “no-baby zone.”
“The two main arguments that we hear is that parents will not be able to get their work done and that the babies will cry and be disruptive to the work environment,” said Carla Moquin, director of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute. “That can happen if you don’t have a formal, structured policy in place.”
With the U.S. Senate allowing Duckworth to bring her child to the floor, advocates hope more employers consider adopting similar policies.
“That if it’s being done there in the focal point of our nation, that they should try it, right?” James said.
James says even skeptics in her office ended up liking having a baby on board.
Companies with baby-friendly policies usually allow babies in the workplace until the infants can crawl. Once they’re mobile, liability becomes a much bigger issue.