If you are a parent, there may come a time when you will need to bring your child into work. Your nanny may be sick, the daycare may unexpectedly close for the day or you may receive a call from your child’s school. While some companies openly invite new mothers to bring newborns into the office or have an “open door” policy when a child is sick and needs to stay home from school, not all offices are as accommodating or permissive.
In terms of legality, rules about children in the workplace vary with the workplace culture and the size of the business. In most companies, a policy regarding children and/or babies in the workplace can be found within the employee handbook. You will want to check your handbook on the workplace policy regarding children and family members. If your company employs a human resources representative, you will want to ask him or her the rules that govern pregnancy, child care and sick leave. Depending on where you work, your company insurance may prohibit minors from being on the property during work hours.
Even if your company allows you to bring your child to work, your boss may be less permissive. Understand that if your boss or supervisor is not welcoming the idea of you bringing your baby to work, it probably has little to do with your child and more to do with you handling your workload. Realistically, if you bring your baby to work, you must keep them busy, well fed, quiet and clean. You know that as a parent most of your attention will be focused on your baby instead of your job duties.
Many bosses and supervisors will not be upset by the occasional need to stay home with your child or bring your baby to work, as long as you provide substantial notice. It is not only respectful, it is your responsibility to inform your boss prior to showing up at the office with a child for the day. This gives your boss a chance to voice and/or address his or her concerns, find alternative solutions with you or prepare the office. In addition, there may be things going on at the office that day that you are unaware of, such as a client meeting, in which event your boss may request you work from home instead.
Understand that your child and your job are your responsibility. If you bring your child to work and are authorized to do so, be conscious of the burden you may be placing on your coworkers if you ask them to help out. Everyone has their own responsibilities to take care of during the day.
Be sure you understand your company’s rules before an unexpected incident occurs where you need to bring your baby or child into work. Have a conversation with your boss before anything happens to understand what you can and cannot do. We know how difficult this conversation can be for both employees and employers. We welcome you to speak to one of our experienced employment attorneys about this issue today.