||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:
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
- Flextime & Working from Home
Moskowitz noted that WM 100 companies such as
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).
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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