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This New Pilot Program Will Save Some Parents Thousands in Day Care Costs

Father with baby working at home.
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Bring on the coos, cuteness and cries. A state agency in South Carolina just launched a pilot program allowing employees to bring their babies to the office.

The South Carolina Department of Insurance will let staffers take their infants up to 6 months old as long as it won’t disrupt the work of the office, the Post and Courier reported.

The department’s director Ray Farmer introduced the trial program after learning the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has allowed its employees to bring babies into work for 20 years.

“Programs such as these can assist with employee retention and the success of this agency,” Farmer wrote in a notice to his staff.

Employees will still be required to work their normal 7 ½-hour days. The intent of the program isn’t to mimic a day care service, Farmer said. The department has fewer than 100 workers, and he doesn’t expect to have more than one or two babies in the office at a time — although there is a “quiet room” if parents need to retreat to a private space.

One of the great things about this parent-baby bonding time at work is that it can save employees thousands in child-care costs.

According to Care.com, the average cost to send an infant to a day care center in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital city, is $186 per week. The average cost for nanny care is $559 per week.

So if a South Carolina Department of Insurance worker decides to return to work after spending six weeks at home with a newborn, the potentially savings could be $3,720 in day care costs or $11,180 in nanny-care expenses over the following 20 weeks simply by bringing the baby to the office.

The Post and Courier reported this is the first state agency in South Carolina to pilot such a program. However, bring-your-infant-to-work policies have been enacted in other government offices and private companies throughout the country.

The Parenting in the Workplace Institute, (which we wrote about last year), has recorded more than 2,100 instances where employees have taken their babies to work, spanning more than 200 workplaces in more than 30 industries across more than 40 states.

The institute’s database of baby-inclusive organizations shines a light on how various workplaces support working parents and help them trim the insane cost of raising a child.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys writing about parenting and money.

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