There’s a war for talent, and one thing’s for sure: Companies are upping their offerings to attract the best. And with 32 percent of workers* having a child under 18, these benefits and policies are often targeted to that population, those who desperately need time and help on the home front. The result should be companies paying top dollar for skilled employees to work on their own terms—when, where and how they see fit so they can squeeze in family responsibilities that might not jibe with a traditional work schedule. It should also mean those employees take plenty of paid time off for parental leave, vacation and more. That’s not always reality though.
Offering great benefits and putting appealing policies in place does not necessarily translate to employees using them. A company can tell its new parents they can take as much parental leave as they want, but if managers subtly pressure their direct reports to return sooner rather than later, or mom and dad workers see those who take months off lose out on key opportunities or promotions, they’re going to return to the office quickly.
That’s not cool with us at Working Mother.
The organizations who make the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list don’t just focus on luring in great workers. They make sure that they retain them by tracking usage of benefits—and make it easier for employees to take advantage of those perks when something that sounds attractive is going unutilized. In fact, Working Mother scores companies based on not just what employees are entitled to do and use, but what they actually do and use.
So when we tout the average amount of paid maternity leave—an average of 11 weeks among this year’s 100 Best, with an average of 14 among the top 10, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte—we’re also touting that employees feel comfortable enough taking that time. (And a whopping 57 percent of the 100 Best offer gender-neutral parental leave!) When we talk about perks—such as care for sick kids while parents are at work, which 75 percent of the 100 Best Companies offer—we’re referring to these companies addressing the real needs of working parents. And perhaps most important, when we say that 98 percent of the 100 Best Companies allow employees to work flexible hours and 99 percent offer telecommuting, their staffers are truly working remotely with nontraditional schedules.
And in these crucial areas, the 100 Best Companies are making progress year over year. As compared with 91 percent last year, 94 percent of the 100 Best offer backup childcare. And 84 percent are allowing new parents to phase back into full-time work after taking leave, compared with 79 percent last year—because returning to work as the person you were before welcoming
a child is simply not possible, but gradually getting up to speed (perhaps while a baby at home is gradually sleeping for longer stretches overnight) sets employees up for success—and, therefore, the business too.
So if you long to work somewhere that encourages you to personalize your work life so you can have a personal life, I highly recommend checking out the Working Mother 100 Best Companies. Even if they didn’t offer amazing health benefits—which many of them do—their culture of caring for their caregiver employees keeps them mentally and physically healthy.