Crying babies: They're not just for crowded airline flights anymore.
On Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott, Vermont Secretary of Administration Susanne Young and Human Resources Commissioner Beth Fastiggi announced a new Infants in the Workplace program for state employees. The policy, which takes effect on February 1, will allow state workers to bring their infant children, ages 6 weeks to 6 months, to work.
In an announcement, Fastiggi cited research on early childhood development showing that keeping parent and child together during the first few months of life is linked to healthier brain development for the baby, an improved sense of wellbeing for the parent and diminished time lost from the workplace.
The policy applies to employees who wish to return to work after the birth, adoption or foster placement of infants.
Similar policies elsewhere led to increased employee retention and better morale, Young said in the announcement.
For sure, bringing the kiddos to work is certainly a more affordable daycare option for many cash-strapped civil servants — who could face plenty of trouble finding childcare in Vermont anyway. And nothing increases office teamwork like a stinky diaper in dire need of rapid disposal.
Lest anyone is concerned about the welfare of the babies themselves, the state issued an accompanying six-page policy statement clarifying who may bring their infants to work, when and where.
For instance, the state worker must be the legal parent or guardian of the office baby. In other words, no running a daycare center out of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Also, said civil servant cannot bring their infant into a work environment that would pose a direct threat to the child's safety or wellbeing. So, don't expect any state troopers or plow drivers to be radioing in an "urgent code brown" from Interstate 89.
Sick children are not permitted in the workplace, and all babies must be current on their vaccination schedule. Otherwise, state government could be brought to its knees by some nasty medieval pox that should have been eradicated decades ago.
Supervisors must allow lactating mothers the time and a private place to nurse or pump milk. And "the infant shall be located primarily at the parent's workstation" — i.e., not left in a break room or stairwell, nor raced against other infants up and down the corridors of the National Life building.
Finally, "disruptive infants are not permitted in the workplace."
Um, they are familiar with the concept of babies, correct?