Reading Between the Lines on Family-Friendly Workplace Policies
posted by Sheri
When I had my son, I was working for a company that offered a Babies in the Workplace program, which I thought was really cool. And it was! I was allowed to bring my son with me to work for the first six months of his life. I did my job and kept him right beside me in my cubicle. This made the transition back to work, especially while breastfeeding, a lot easier, and I didn't have to find the perfect childcare just weeks into (or with all the wait lists, more likely prior to) my son's life.
Of course, that was the point right. Get the workers back to work as quickly as possible. Now I'm all for innovative policies that are good for the worker and the employer, but this program had some tradeoffs. You had to return to work at 8 weeks (or 10 if you had a c-section), giving up the full 12 weeks of leave that is allotted under FMLA. And if I took the full 12 weeks, I could not bring my baby to work when I returned. Now for me, the pros far outweighed the cons here, but the program is still in no way perfect.
On this same note, read Charlotte Fishman's "Only the Fertile Need Apply." Fishman talks about Stanford University's relatively new "family-friendly" practice that excludes adoptive parents or biological mothers who used a surrogate, fathers, and gay couples.
The point? Let's read between the lines and keep demanding fair family-friendly policy.