16 Companies With Innovative Parent-Friendly Policies
Parenting and work don't always feel compatible -- what with kids' sick days, last-minute meetings that clash with day-care pickups, and the whole pumping-at-the-office thing -- but working outside of the home is a necessity for most parents. So we're always happy to hear about companies that offer benefits that make the balancing act easier.
"More and more companies are coming to terms with the fact that the majority of people in the workforce are going to become parents at some point," says Anne Weisberg, senior vice president for strategy at Families and Work Institute. Supporting them throughout that transition (and beyond!) lets companies keep valuable talent and helps employees do their best work. And it's a no-brainer that an engaged, committed workforce is better for business performance, Weisberg adds.
Find out which companies are working hard to keep working parents happy.
American Express is about to change the game with its new policies on maternity (and paternity!) leave, starting January 1, 2017. AmEx will offer its employees a paid 20-week leave for all new parents, plus an extra six to eight weeks to birth mothers for medical recovery time. The company made it clear that adoptive, foster, surrogate, and LGBTQ parents are included in this new policy as well. AmEx understands that in order to achieve maximum efficiency from its soon-to-be parental employees, they need to be given the proper care first. “We feel that this policy is more reflective of the needs of our diverse employee base, and strikes the right balance between our employees’ and our business’ needs.” One can only hope more companies will follow in these footsteps!
Breastfeeding moms traveling for work at this outdoor apparel brand can bring along their baby -- as well as a family member or a caregiver from the company's child-care center -- all on Patagonia's dime. A child-care center is located on-site at the company's California headquarters, so parents can slip in to visit their kids during the day, and company buses deliver kids from local schools to the center for after-school care. For employees trying to become parents, Patagonia chips in on adoption fees.
This tech giant is famous for its perk-happy culture, and many of those benefits are primed to help out parents. The company has four child-care centers near its Mountain View, California campus -- that's a lot of tiny Googlers. New moms get 18 weeks of paid leave, and parents planning to take an equal or primary role in their child's first year get 12 weeks -- plus $500 cash for "baby bonding."
You've heard about the free meals and free laundry service at the technology company, and parents are treated well, too. For starters, $4,000 in "baby cash" is given to employees with new arrivals -- what freshly minted parent couldn't think of something to spend that on? The company made news recently when it began paying for egg freezing under a $20,000 benefit to cover fertility treatments. Facebook also subsidizes child-care and provides assistance with adoption fees.
College-bound kids of employees at this analytics software company can take advantage of a scholarship program, and younger kids spend summers at the on-site camp at the company's North Carolina headquarters. The campus is home to a health-care center and a recreation and fitness facility (where employees can sign up their kids for swim lessons or the whole family can attend a campout). A work/life center offers resources and counseling on topics like parenting teens. Subsidized child-care and adoption assistance round out the family-friendly perks.
Rachel Zoe Inc.
When stylist and designer Rachel Zoe found out five of her employees were to become mothers last year, she built a (beautiful!) nursery next door to her offices to take care of all the new additions. Herself a mom of two, Zoe wrote that opening the child-care spot was the best business decision she ever made -- showing that the company celebrates staffers' personal lives and isn't "afraid to let those truths influence the culture in the office."
This financial services firm offers a variety of parent-focused support -- 16 weeks of paid maternity, adoption, and surrogacy leave; lactation rooms; and backup child care available either at home or at the office. Plus, employees (and their partners) working in the New York City headquarters can go to an on-site expectant-parent coordinator for help sorting out the often-confusing web of health insurance and leave benefits. When employees need help finding a nanny or day care, they can log on to the Help-at-Home Bulletin Board on the firm's Intranet, where parents share child-care recommendations and needs.
After Baby: How I Found Flexibility At Work
Arnold & Porter
This law firm helps defray adoption costs, and offers 18 weeks of paid leave for the primary caretaker of a new child and six weeks paid for the secondary caretaker. It houses a child-care center in its Washington, D.C., office and provides workers 15 days of free backup care when regular child-care arrangements fall through. And employees who want to work part-time have to work only 25 hours a week to qualify for benefits -- and they can get guidance from two partners who advise associates on transitioning to part-time work.
Breastfeeding staffers (or employee spouses) get free hospital-grade pumps and access to lactation consultations, and those hoping to adopt can get help paying for expenses (up to $5,000 per child with an extra $1,000 for children with special needs). All employees with new babies can get support from the executive coaches trained to help working parents. And if your kids are college-bound? Employees at the consulting and auditing firm can consult a college coach through the firm's employee assistance program to get their high schoolers help with applications and decision-making.
This eco-friendly diaper company has provided on-site child care since its founding. The small staff is offered six months of paid parental leave and flexible work hours, including the option to work from home instead of the Portland, Oregon, office -- where employees say babies are welcome at meetings.
New adoptive parents get a big boost from Abbott: The health-care company reimburses up to $20,000 of adoption expenses. Employees can get up to two paid weeks off for travel and legal issues related to the adoption -- or just to bond with their new child. Breastfeeding moms have access to free counseling from a lactation consultant, and parents who want to carpool with their kids can enroll them in the on-site day-care center (which offers full-day kindergarten!).
Johnson & Johnson
This consumer goods company (all parents recognize that yellow bottle of baby shampoo) just upped its parental leave policy last month, giving birth moms 17 weeks of paid time off and dads a minimum of nine weeks, which doesn't have to be taken consecutively, meaning parents can ease back into full-time work. But new parents don't have to go it alone -- pregnant employees are assigned a nurse to answer questions and check up on them during leave. When it is time to dive back in, Johnson & Johnson has seven on-site child-care centers in the United States, something the company pioneered back in 1990.
Staffers aren't kept to a 9-to-5 schedule at the food company's Minneapolis headquarters, where hours are flexible, telecommuting is common, and the workweek is adjusted to allow for Friday afternoons off in the summer. Employees can join an adoption support group and are given $10,000 to help with fees. There's an infant child-care center on campus so new babies can be cared for nearby.
Working Moms: Best Tips
New moms are paired up with veteran moms as part of this professional services firm's Mentor Moms program. Women dealing with the transition to motherhood receive guidance, coping tips, or just a sympathetic ear from an employee experienced in handling work and parenting. Other benefits: Backup child care is set up and subsidized, and parents leaving the firm to care for their families full-time can participate in a program that helps them keep in touch with former colleagues and allows them to attend some firm trainings and events to stay sharp.
Multiple adoption and foster care agencies come together for the technology company's annual adoption fair, where employees thinking about adopting can get more information. Then Microsoft helps pay the fees if employees decide to expand their families. Other benefits include subsidized child care and help finding backup child care if your nanny falls through.
Paid maternity leave is more of a basic benefit than an innovative policy, but the U.K.-based telecom company is giving it a new spin. In addition to requiring its companies to grant moms a minimum of 16 paid weeks of leave, Vodafone announced this year that new moms will be able to work 30 hours a week for the first six months after leave -- while earning their full-time pay.
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