By Melissa Frey
EUGENE, Ore. — Returning to work after having a baby is a reality that many parents face, but parting ways with your newborn may not come very easy.
It didn’t take much searching to realize that there’s not much out there in terms of daycare for infants. We did however find two local businesses that care for newborns but in very different ways.
Justin Bruce and his son Callen didn’t have to face the need for childcare. Callen is just five months old and thanks to Pacific Cascade’s “Babies in the Workplace Program” he gets to spend the day with his dad.
“I was excited when we found out that we were pregnant, that I’d be able to bring him to work,” said Justin Bruce, Card Services Representative, Pacific Cascade Federal Credit Union.
It is one of the more unique workplaces you’ll ever come across, a credit union that allows newborns to come to work with their parents.
Justin says with him and his wife both working full time, child care was a necessity. This program has not only taken care of that, but has also allowed the two of them to spend quality time together.
“Her going to work, not having the pay for the Summer, then having to figure out childcare when she goes back to work…not having that burden is a blessing,” said Bruce, “It’s really helped me and him to have the bond, and continue to foster that relationship…he’s able to get to know me when he’s young.”
Justin and the rest of the staff can thank Pacific Cascade’s CEO Bob Harris for the policy, he stole the idea from a California credit union after reading about it in a newsletter.
“I’m a parent, of three now grown kids, but I know how important child care is and thought it was a wonderful way to have a win win and everybody gets to benefit, including the newborn,” said Bob Harris, CEO Pacific Cascade Federal Credit Union.
Their program allows parents to bring in their baby until they reach eight months, or start to crawl. Bob says while it doesn’t work for all babies, most enjoy their days on the job.
“They all have their moments, but for the most part it works out very well,” said Harris.
Justin and Callen work behind the scenes, but a teller out front is just days away from meeting his son Kalai. Mike Gonsalves could hardly believe that a program like this existed.
“There were like, ‘yeah, you can bring your baby to work here,’ and it’s like really, is that, is that real,” said Mike Gonsalves, Teller, Pacific Cascade Federal Credit Union.
And he is already looking forward to bringing Kalai to work with him.
“Once my wife is done with her maternity leave he’s going to be right here,” Gonsalves said.
In addition to getting to spend time with Kalai every day, mike is just as thankful to have a huge financial burden lifted.
“It’s $8,000 savings, really, just by Pacific Cascade letting us have him here, and that’s pretty incredible,” Gonsalves said.
While having babies in the workplace is obviously a great situation for parents, its been good for the credit union as well. Bob says the members seem to enjoy seeing the little ones around.
“Actually have attracted some new members just because we’ve done it and have been viewed as a progressive organization,” Harris said.
Now if you’re not a Pacific Cascades employee, and you’re looking for infant care, there are options out there but they may be hard to track down, and will likely take a large chunk of change.
“It is so expensive for childcare, and to have good quality and loving environment, it’s very hard to find. And for working families, they’re working just to pay for child care,” said Paula Sheridan, Director, Kiddz Christian Learning Center.
Paula Sherian is the Director of the Kiddz Christian Learning Center in Eugene. They are one of the few places in town that will accept infants, as early as six weeks. She says if you’re looking for child care for your infant, start early.
“We have a waiting list a lot of times. We do have one going all the time. Sometimes three four months out we have parents that call up that are due three months from now and they’ll want to get on that list, and pay a deposit to be able to assure the spot,” Sheridan said.
The folks at Kiddz understand how difficult it is on parents who must return to work, so they do their best to keep costs down and stay flexible.
If you know of any options for infant care in western Oregon that you would like to suggest feel free to add those by commenting below. I know there are a lot of parents that would appreciate it!