Company that welcomes babies finds recruiting, loyalty a breeze

Posted August 11

At Badger's, every day is "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day." And sons, too. The company has opted to allow parents to bring their babies, up to 6 months of age. (Deseret Photo)

In the conversation about parental leave and the workplace, W.S. Badger in Gilsum, New Hampshire, treats every day like Bring Your Child to Work Day — as long as your offspring is younger than 6 months old.

Parents of the youngest children can be found working diligently with their tiny offspring very close at hand. And it pays dividends in terms of employee engagement and retention, the organic skin care company's owners say in a video on the site.

"The company’s unique Babies at Work program encourages the parent/child bond at a critical time, while also providing business benefits to Badger: reduced turnover, increased employee engagement and fewer new parents leaving the workplace," the introduction to the short video says.

It's another twist in ongoing efforts by employers to help assure that parents and babies bond in the child's early months, which has been part of a national discussion about parental leave after a baby's birth, from who gets it to how long and whether it's paid or not.

Companies aren't just talking about policies, but they are enacting them. For instance, The Tennessean just reported that "First Tennessee Bank, the state's largest bank and a major Tennessee employer, has expanded its maternity and parental leave policies in an effort to boost recruitment and employee retention.

"Under the new policy, new mothers, including part-time workers, will receive 100 percent pay for eight weeks, marking a dramatic shift from its previous policy that was staggered based on years worked. New fathers will also be able to take a month of fully paid leave, up from one week."

The article noted that, based on U.S. Department of Labor figures, just 12 percent of private-sector jobs include paid maternity or paternity leave. That benefit is much more likely to be offered in other developed countries.

A few other high-profile companies have announced related changes. For example, Bank of America recently announced a bump in paid leave from three months to four.

CNN Money reported in 2015 that "talent retention programs can bring significant savings to a company. For instance, it costs PricewaterhouseCoopers around $120,000 every time someone leaves the company, according to Diversity Strategy Leader Jennifer Allyn. To help with retention, the firm offers a telecommuter program, flexible work arrangements and six weeks of paid time off for men and women after the birth or adoption of a child."

That article noted that "the Obama administration has been advocating for employers to offer paid time off, whether it's for the arrival of a new child, sick leave or family care. A senior White House official pointed out that female labor force participation has slowed over the last two decades, in part due to a lack of policies to help balance work and family life."

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