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Companies make room for baby

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More employers take notice

Parenting-in-the-workplace programs have been around for at least 30 years, according to Mary Secret, an associate professor in the social work department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, who has completed two studies on the subject. She notes that while there has been more discussion among employers about these programs, she is uncertain whether that reflects an increasing trend in this type of childcare.

One website, babiesatwork.org, lists companies that give employees the option of bringing babies to work. It also provides guidelines for employers who may want to use such a program.

"I think because people are more exposed to the idea, they are more willing to consider it and see the ways this can work" says the website's creator, Carla Moquin, who is also president of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute in Framingham, Mass.

The programs have allowed mothers to return to work sooner, Ms. Moquin notes, something that benefits employers. "

Smaller businesses can't afford expensive paid maternity leave," she says. "And the employer doesn't have to hire temps or worry about mistakes." The baby programs, she says, "lead to higher loyalty, higher retention, higher morale" in the organizations.

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