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Putting #FamilyFirst With Employee Benefits

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/03/2016 Julie Stich
BUSY PARENTS © Hero Images via Getty Images BUSY PARENTS

The recent story of Chicago White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche walking away from a $13 million season contract after being told he had to limit the time his 14-year-old son, Drake, spent with the team (his father's place of work), got us thinking . . . What are typical workplace policies for bringing children to work?
According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans' 2014 Employee Benefits Survey report, less than 1% of workplaces allow employees to take their children to work, like Adam and Drake. Twenty percent of organizations, however, allow employees to take their children to work once per year in celebration of "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."
Although my childhood predates that particular day (and its precursor, "Take Our Daughters to Work Day"), I remember visiting my dad at work on occasion. I met his colleagues, puttered at his desk and ate lunch with him in his lunchroom, feeling very grown up. To this day, the smell of machine oil takes me right back there (Dad was an office machine technician). His colleagues made me feel very welcome and Dad's boss, in letting kids visit on occasion, ushered a sense of family into the workplace. It also provided me with a unique introduction to work ethic and career building. More than 37 million Americans at over 3.5 million workplaces bring their children to work for the event each year (it will be April 28 this year).
An interesting Daily News article examined the pros and cons to bringing children to work--It's either a refreshing change of pace or disruptive to colleagues. A facilities manager featured in the article said productivity increases when people are happy and can take care of their personal stuff (i.e., children). University of Warwick confirmed: Happy employees are 12% more productive and unhappy workers are 10% less productive.
Allowing parents to spend more time with their children outside of work is gaining popularity. The same Employee Benefits Survey found that 10% of workplaces offer paid leave for parents to attend a child's activities.
Adam LaRoche's tweet on the matter included the hashtag #FamilyFirst. His retirement reopened the case for children at work, no matter how untraditional the workplace may be. It's a trend we'll be keeping our eye on. Do you thinking bringing your children to work is appropriate? Please leave a comment.

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