Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Chair of Council’s Housing, Health, Energy and Workers’ Rights Committee, announced the introduction of her Resolution 31910 “Infants at Work”, which will be voted on during the next regularly occurring meeting of the Full Council on Monday, September 30th.
“Working parents everywhere know first-hand the challenges of balancing the demands of going back to the workplace, the skyrocketing cost of childcare – especially for infant care, and the need for early and sufficient bonding time with their children,” said Mosqueda. “The ‘Infants at Work’ pilot program would allow eligible city employees an opportunity to be with their infants at work during their first months of life, which promotes workplace retention, increased productivity, lower employee turnover rates, and improved health for infants, their parents and general population health.”
In 2015, the Washington State Department of Health implemented an “Infants at Work Policy ” based on the long-term health value of breastfeeding newborns and bonding. The State allows eligible parents or guardians to bring their infants age six weeks to six months to work. In 2018, King County developed a work plan for implementing an “Infants at Work” pilot program in King County Elections. A pilot program at the City of Seattle is the natural next step in making progress for working parents who are also public employees.
“Like affordable access to childcare, the ability to bring your infant to the work is a modern necessity when the work environment itself is safe for children,” said Shaun Van Eyk, PROTEC17 Union Representative. “Just as we advocated for and supported the expansion of the City’s Paid Parental Leave benefit to a full 12 weeks two years ago, we hope the Council will adopt this resolution. It represents just the latest example of the trailblazing work in support of City workers. We applaud Councilmember Mosqueda and her colleagues for their support of this resolution.”
“I am thrilled to see the City of Seattle will consider an ‘Infants at Work’ pilot program and thank Councilmember Mosqueda for her continued leadership fighting for workplace equity and family-friendly policies,” said King County Council Chair Rod Dembowski. “I sponsored similar legislation at the King County Council, and was lucky enough to personally witness the many benefits of these policies when my own staffer returned from parental leave with her daughter, who brought joy and many smiles during her three month gig on the D1 team.”
“On behalf of Seattle’s MomsRising members, we commend Councilmember Mosqueda for introducing an Infants at Work pilot program for city employees, and the Council for championing this cause” said Maggie Humphreys, Washington State MomsForce Director for MomsRising, a grassroots advocacy organization. “Establishing an ‘Infants at Work’ pilot program will continue Seattle’s proud tradition of leading on family-friendly workplace policies, supporting working families, and doing all we can to give children their best start.”
The Council will request the Executive to transmit a plan for the pilot program that includes, but is not limited to, program eligibility requirements; and, a plan for implementation.