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Employers Who Make it Easier to be a Working Mom

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Working mother may be a redundant term because all moms work hard, whether it's in the home or out. But mothers with jobs face unique challenges every day. Thankfully, there are many employers who offer a supportive environment to help these women shine, personally and professionally.

Read on for a closer look at how some of the U.S.'s largest employers are embracing working moms.

1. Cisco Systems



Who they are:

Founded in 1984, Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco employs more than 47,000 employees worldwide, 24 % of whom are women, and frequently appears on Working Mother magazine's "100 Best Companies" list.
Made for Mom:

Women matter at Cisco. Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Susan L. Bostrom, who was the executive sponsor of Cisco's Women's Initiative from 2001 through 2004, firmly believes "that diversity in the workforce brings diversity of thought which increases a business's competitive advantage."


Perks: Cisco offers on-site childcare at its San Jose headquarters, priority access to a network of 200+ childcare centers, backup emergency childcare, adoption assistance, comprehensive breastfeeding support services, flexible work options (almost 100% of all Cisco employees have some type of remote access at their homes) and an array of on-site services to help moms on the go.

Fun Fact:

You say it's your birthday? You'll get a face-to-face with CEO John Chambers at his monthly birthday breakfasts and you can ask him anything you want. Really.

2. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Who They Are:

One of the country's premier pediatric healthcare systems, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) has two pediatric hospitals and five immediate care centers. 61% of executives and 82 % of workers are female.
Made for Mom:

President and CEO James Tally says, "Those [employees] who have chosen to be working mothers ... are especially important because they make a difference in the lives of children in two places - at home and at work. So, we've always felt an obligation to support them in their indispensable and important roles."

Perks:

All employees have access to flexible scheduling options and are encouraged to participate in telecommuting when possible. Adoption assistance is available and "Great Expectation" baby showers are held regularly to celebrate with all parents-to-be. Workers receive pregnancy counseling, a $100 savings bond for each new addition to their families, access to a lactation consultant and company-sponsored childcare and more.

Fun Fact:

CHOA will pay a lifetime benefit of up to $10,000 to cover expenses related to infertility treatments.

3. American Express

Who They Are: In 2005, American Express celebrated its 16th appearance on the Working Mother "100 Best Companies" list. A leading global payments, network and travel company, 61% of American Express's 42,453 employees are women.
Made for Mom:

American Express features many employee networks to enhance professional and personal growth, one of which is its "Women Interests Network."

Perks:

American Express offers the triumvirate of flexible work options: Job sharing, a compressed work week and part-time scheduling. Telecommuting is a work-life balance opportunity as well. An adoption-assistance program is available as are education- and legal-assistance plans.

Fun Fact:

Employees at American Express can buy additional vacation days using pre-tax dollars.

4. Eli Lily & Co.

Who They Are:

Eli Lilly and Company is a leading innovation-driven pharmaceutical corporation employing 44,000 people worldwide. Lilly's products include Cialis, Evista and Prozac.
Made for Mom:

Another favorite of Working Mother magazine, Eli Lilly and Company was lauded by the popular publication for "its culture [that] gives people the freedom to figure out how to achieve their own version of work/family balance."

Perks:

Lilly's flexible work options include flex time, flex week, part-time hours, job sharing and telecommuting. There are on-site child development centers (and fitness centers, too) at several locations. All new parents - mothers, fathers and adoptive and foster parents - enjoy paid leave. Elder care and childcare consultation and referral services, including support and information-sharing groups, are available as is adoption assistance.

Fun Fact:

Lilly offers on-site conveniences suited to busy working moms that include a credit union, convenience store, dry cleaner, DVD rentals and take-home food services.

5. Publix Supermarkets

Who They Are:

Publix Super Markets is the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. Founded in 1930, Publix has over 138,000 associates, 884 stores and eight distribution centers across five states.

Made for Mom:

Maria Brous, Director of Media and Community Relations for Publix, says, "Women are an important part of our workforce, as they are in our stores as consumers. Women help us identify consumer shopping trends and provide us with the attention to detail that makes the difference in the overall shopping experience of our customers."

Perks:

Publix offers different perks to suit the needs of employees who work in different locations. In its corporate headquarters, Publix associates have access to the Publix Child Development Center and lactation rooms. In retail stores, Publix offers flexible working hours. In its manufacturing and distribution centers, three different shifts are available to accommodate almost any schedule. Telecommuting is offered when possible, too.

Fun Fact: 49% of Publix's employees are women.

6. PricewaterhouseCoopers

Who They Are:

PricewaterhouseCoopers provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services in order to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. Of its 26,000+ employees, 48 % are women.
Made for Mom:

2005 marked the ninth consecutive year PwC has been named to Working Mother magazine's "100 Best Companies" list and the second year they've cracked the top 10.

Perks:

PwC's family-friendly perks are almost too numerous to mention. There are discounts and reimbursements for childcare, emergency backup childcare, telecommuting options and part-time scheduling. New mothers (adoptive and biological) enjoy generous paid leave, and three weeks of parental leave is available for non-primary caregivers. All parents have access to the "Working Parents' Network," for support and advice from colleagues.

Fun Fact:

PWC has a "New Moms Lactation Program" in place for all staffers and their spouses or domestic partners. Counseling and education are provided, state-of-the-art breast pumps can be purchased for a nominal co-payment and many PwC offices have private mother's rooms

7. Edward Jones

Who They Are:

One of the world's fastest-growing and most-honored investment and financial services firms, Edward Jones is known for opening the door to careers in finance for women across the U.S. and Canada (and, most recently, in the U.K.).

Made for Mom:

Edward Jones supports working moms in a number of unique ways. Transitional representatives will fill in for investment representatives who are out on maternity leave. Edward Jones's EDGE ("Expectations, Development, Guidance and Expertise") Program is a network of successful women who offer advice to other women on building a thriving business. Michele Holton, Manager of Inclusion for Edward Jones, says EDGE has proven to be a "very helpful resource because you have women who are willing and prepared to take these calls and share their success strategies."

Perks: In addition to tuition-reimbursement packages, full benefits, profit sharing and an opportunity for ownership in the firm, Edward Jones is proud to offer adoption assistance and family leave as well as opportunities for job sharing, flex time and part-time work.

Fun Fact: A staggering 65% of Edward Jones's 30,000+ employees are women.

8. IBM

Who They Are:

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with nearly 330,000 employees around the world. For 20 consecutive years, IBM has been one of Working Mother magazine's best companies.
Made for Mom:

IBM spokesman Clint Roswell says, "IBM's goal over the years has been to create an environment and programs so conducive to the needs of women employees that they will continuously attract and retain key talent." What motivates "Big Blue" to embrace working mothers so warmly? "It's good business," says Roswell. "It really makes a difference in the workplace."

Perks:

IBM provides employees with an impressive variety of flexible work options including telecommuting, work at home, part-time reduced work schedules, which are available on a permanent or temporary basis, job sharing, a compressed or flexible work week, individualized work schedules and up to a three-year leave of absence.

Fun Fact:

IBM's EX.I.T.E. (EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) camps encourage middle-school girls around the world explore technology, math and science with mentoring from some of IBM's top female executives.

9. Microsoft

Who They Are:

Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Founded in 1975, this progressive company has benefits to match.

Made for Mom:

Microsoft has "New Mother Rooms" in most of its campus buildings.

Perks:

Microsoft offers a perk for virtually every need a working mom could have, including adoption assistance, backup childcare, school's out childcare, paid maternity leave and paid parental leave, a contraception benefit, an infertility benefit, on-site mammography testing and much more.

Fun Fact:

Working Mother magazine reports, "Moms and dads of newborns receive a 'welcome baby box' stocked with infant clothes and supplies."

10. Discovery Communications

Who They Are:

Discovery Communications is the global leader in the creation and distribution of real-world media, retail products and online educational services. Networks include the eponymous Discovery Channel, BBC America, TLC, Animal Planet, The Military Channel and more.

Made for Mom:

According to Working Mother magazine, almost 50 % of Discovery Communications' executives and top earners are women.

Perks:

Flex time is all the rage at Discovery and work-at-home options are popular, too (perhaps because Discovery supplies employees with the high-tech tools to do so). Emergency/backup childcare is available and employees have access to the Discovery Family Learning Institute, which offers family-friendly programs and classes.

Fun Fact:

The company's President and CEO Judith McHale, who has been with the company since 1987, was named 2004 Family Champion by Working Mother magazine.
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