Last week, kids were sitting behind corporate desks as a result of annual Bring Your Child to Work Day. If California lawmakers have their say, this could be an every day occurrence for infants six weeks to six months old. Currently, the state has plans to institute AB 372, the Infants at Work Pilot Program, beginning January 1, 2020 and running through January 1, 2022.
Legislators are looking to improve new parent/caregiver and infant bonding through AB 372. What they’ve cited, “…enacting this act to improve infant bonding time among new parents, which has been found crucial to both brain development and the long-term health of the child.” They put forth other benefits of having children in the workplace, as well, saying it “…promotes the health of infants by supporting breastfeeding, encourages state employees to return to work sooner than they otherwise might, and is community and family friendly.”
California isn’t the first state to onboard programs such as these. In 2015, Washington State’s Department of Health instituted their Infants at Work program, something that has proven to be successful and a model for similar programs.
Of late, California has been embracing family needs, with Governor Gavin Newsom proposing an extended the Paid Family Leave program to six months. Taking things a step further, Newsom has allotted a “$500 million one-time General Fund to build child care infrastructure, including investing in the education of the child care workforce” in the state’s budget. This universal preschool program for kids up to age four would be phased in over a three-year period allowing, “state preschool providers to offer full-day/full-year care to better accommodate working parents.”
As such programs begin, parents across the U.S. are keeping an eye on similar actions their states might be taking, or what might be enacted on a federal level.