Your (Wo)Man in Washington welcomes guest blogger Alisa Gilbert who writes on the topics of bachelors degree. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working mothers know how hard it is to juggle both career and parenting duties. But according to Working Mother Magazine, thanks to certain companies like Dell, March of Dimes and American Express, the balancing act might get a little easier. The magazine, founded in 1979, recently released its 25th annual list of the best 100 companies for working moms.
The companies selected provide not only the best family-friendly benefits but also provide programs “that help all employees with their struggles to gain some work-life balance,” according to the magazine. Top 10 included IBM, Bank of America, Discovery Communications, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, General Mills, PricewaterhouseCoopers, WellStar Health System, and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.
To get ranked, companies were required to answer more than 600 questions about the benefits they provide to support working mothers and their families. Working Mother then scored the companies based on a variety of factors, including workforce representation, childcare, flex time programs, and maternity leave policies. All of the winning companies provide private lactation rooms as well as assistance finding elder-care services.
Although many may be skeptical due to the fact that most of the companies featured on the list are also the buyers of advertising pages in the magazine, it’s important to remember that employers who have something to brag about usually do. These can come in all forms: press releases, media coverage, advertisements and lists. Whatever the case, I think lists featuring the best work-life balance programs are a very effective way to promote flexible workplaces.
Here are the only winners from the Washington, D.C. area. Included is a short description ripped straight from Working Mother on why these companies are so special.
National Education Association
Quick Fact: More than 58 percent of NEA’s workforce of roughly 500 employees at its Washington, D.C. headquarters is female.
“Taking five paid days off to spend at a child’s school or participate in a school-related activity might seem too good to be true to most moms, but at this labor organization, parents can do it every year. Representing education professionals in all 50 states, it puts a premium on learning, which is why it offers staffers up to $4,000 in annual tuition assistance, plus interest-free loans to cover books and fees. Through a partnership with the University of Maryland, the organization also hosts a PhD program in education policy at headquarters, which complements the 60 on-site career-skills courses taught by its homegrown Leadership Institute. Ever mindful of the school calendar, the organization allows all staffers to compress their weeks and take Fridays off in July and August–a relief to parents with restless kids on summer break. In a pinch, there’s in-home and center-based backup care for $2 to $4 per hour.”
“Moms cherish this media company’s family-friendly atmosphere. If they have a baby, they can take nine fully paid weeks off to bond and enjoy; new fathers and adoptive parents receive three fully paid weeks off. If they need help during maternity leave, they may request the services of an in-home caregiver for $6 per hour. And when they’re ready to go back to work, they can reduce their hours for up to four weeks, with no loss in benefits. It’s estimated that half of all workers rely on a regular flexible schedule, but the vast majority also employ such arrangements casually. Anyone who works at least 20 hours per week earns health insurance, and there’s free primary care at headquarters and in New York City and Miami. For a small fee, a concierge service will tackle parents’ to-do lists.”
For years Congress has struggled trying to pass bills that would mandate benefits for working mothers that companies like National Education Association and Discovery Communications now offer. While it doesn’t seem that the federal government is stepping in anytime soon to make permanent changes, if more companies jumped on the bandwagon and mimicked the companies on the list, then perhaps the motherhood penalty could truly be a relic of the past.