SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – State workers who just had a baby could soon get to bring their infant to work.
Assembly Bill 2481 would allow state employees to bring their infants to work in order to promote parent-infant bonding time and breastfeeding. Babies would need to be between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 months and get medical clearance.
The Infant at Work program “encourages state employees to return to work sooner than they otherwise might, and is community and family friendly.”
The bill would ban state agencies from participating in the Infant at Work program if the work environment is considered “inappropriate for infants, for safety, health, or other concerns regarding the infant, the adult, or both.” The child’s parent or caregiver would have the sole responsibility for keeping the child safe at work.
The existing California Family Rights Act does give eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12 month period to care for a biological, adopted or foster child. The New Parent Leave Act prohibits an employer, as defined, from refusing to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The current law also requires public and private employers to provide a maternal lactation area and time to express breast milk.
Arizona’s Department of Health Services developed a similar program in 2009. More than 250 babies in 10 agencies have participated. Washington state also has an Infant at Work program and as of June 7, 2018 more than 70 infants have gone to work with their parents.
If adopted, AB 2481 would remain in effect only until January 1, 2020.
The bill was authored by Assemblymembers Randy Voepel (R-71st District) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D- 80th District).
It did pass the Assembly in late May. It’s now being heard by the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee.