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  Career :  Working Mom

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Working Mothers

Supermoms Need Support
by Christine Neubecker

Will employers provide the benefits they need?

As America heads into the twenty-first century, women are becoming the foundation of both the family and the workforce. Working mothers juggle careers, advanced degrees, family, soccer practice, dentist appointments and much more. I think the title "Supermom" must have been coined somewhere between Teri Garr and Michael Keaton's debut of Mr. Mom in the early 80's and the tremendous support of military service women that participated in Desert Storm.

Although she may wish to, America's "Supermom" can not save the world on her own. She needs support, not only from her family and friends but also her employer. This need has not gone unnoticed. Companies large and small have begun to provide excellent benefit programs that support the needs of working mothers.

Working Mother Magazine
is an excellent resource for mothers in the workforce. In the October 1997 special issue of Working Mother, Milton Moskowitz shared the results of the 1997 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers survey as he has for the last twelve years. Milton Moskowitz is not a stranger to this topic. He is co-author of the book titled The 100 Best Companies To Work for in America (Doubleday). According to Moskowitz, each year the list of participants in the survey grows larger.

Often an organization's benefit package will be a deciding factor especially to skilled, professional, working mothers. Moskowitz says, " companies compete vigorously to get on the Working Mother 100 best list because they want to be known as the most family friendly employer in their industry or profession."

What constitutes a "family friendly" employer?

Some of the recent 1997 trends that were observed in the Top 100 survey were benefits such as alternative work arrangements, and company daycare centers either on site or close to the office. Moskowitz pointed out that "seventy one percent of the Working Women 100 provide "back up" day care for instances where previous arrangements fall through." Companies have embraced various other programs as well:

  • Flextime & Working from Home
    Moskowitz noted that WM 100 companies such as
    IBM, AT&T, Hewlett Packard, and Amoco have established flexible schedules for their employees. "IBM has 25,000 people working from home, AT&T 16,000, Hewlett Packard 5,000 and Xerox 3,000. Flextime is nearly universal among the WM 100."

  • Compressed Workweek
    Working longer hours over a four-day week has become increasingly popular. "In the past year Amoco moved 5,500 employees into an alternate schedule of 80 hours over nine days, which means that one third of its employees now work this schedule."

  • Long Paid Maternity Leave
    Allowing a new mother and her baby to spend those precious first months has been adopted by WM 100 companies such as
    JP Morgan, which allows 14 weeks leave, Merrill Lynch (13 weeks), and Patagonia (8 weeks).

Working Mother Magazine is not the only source that has discovered the value of family friendly companies. Business Week and Fortune have conducted their own "best company" surveys. First Tennessee Bank was listed on Working Women, Business Week, and Fortune as one of the top family friendly companies to work for. Michelle Neely Martinez writer for HRMagazine quoted the CEO of First Tennessee Bank, Ralph Horn as saying, "Profit begins with satisfied employees."

Web sites geared to the working mother:

Reprinted with permission of CareerBuilder.com. CareerBuilder, Inc. has emerged as the leading provider of E-cruiting (electronic recruiting) services with the CareerBuilder Network, its pioneering model to provide employers with a choice of the best career sites on the Web from a single vendor. The CareerBuilder Network is made up of over 25 leading professional, broad appeal, diversity, and industry career centers.

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