It’s difficult enough to maintain a healthy work-life balance when you only have to think of yourself, and perhaps your partner. When you add children into the mix, it becomes even more of a challenge. Most working parents will say the work of balancing their careers with the joy of having children is absolutely worth the effort, but it can be made much harder — or easier — depending on your company’s family-related policies.
Looking at those policies is the motivation of Working Mother’s list of 100 Best Companies for 2016. Companies who wanted to be included on the list needed to apply, and then answer more than 400 questions about paid time off, the demographics of their workforce, benefits, flexible work arrangements, and more.
The Unites States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t offer a guarantee of paid maternity leave, though the tides are certainly shifting among many companies in the private sector. Every one of the 100 companies on Working Mother’s list in 2016 offered paid maternity leave. Of that group, 97% offered paid leave for adoptions, and 96% offered paid paternity leave as well. In many cases, those leave times are generous compared to the rest of the nation. The average maternity leave among the 100 best companies is nine paid weeks, compared to 8 weeks in 2015. Among the top 10 best companies, the average paid leave for mothers is 11 weeks.
In addition, the benefits and perks at the 100 best companies can help working moms and dads with busy schedules both at work and home. All of the companies on the list offer flextime, and all of them also offer telecommuting opportunities. While not every employee will take advantage of these (80% use flextime and 59% telecommute in some fashion), having them available in the first place is half of the battle. The best companies also offer a higher rate of advancement programs, wellness programs, and even personal services like dry cleaning, meal preparation, and tax services that allow employees to spend less time on chores when they’re actually at home with their families.
Though Working Mother praised the efforts of all of the 100 best companies, 10 in particular rose to the top. Working Mother didn’t rank the top 10 companies, but we’ve listed them alphabetically and included why they received top marks in the report.
1. A.T. Kearney
This management consulting firm earned high marks for its paid leave policies, in particular. “Anyone who gives birth or adopts may take up to a year off with partial pay, and the Pathway for Parents program gives them the option of switching to a part-time work schedule (with limited travel) for up to a year upon their return,” Working Mother reports. Moms are offered an average of 10 weeks of fully paid leave if they choose to come back earlier than the year. Roughly 90% of employees use flextime, and 90% also take advantage of the option to telecommute or work off-site.
It probably helps that this professional services company is led by Julie Sweet, the company’s new group chief executive and a mom of two. Women are offered 16 fully-paid weeks off for maternity leave, and can choose to work locally for a year after having a child. When childcare falls through (as it always does from time to time), parents can take advantage of up to 120 hours of subsidized backup childcare through the company. Flexible working situations are also encouraged, with 85% of employees using telecommuting opportunities.
Deloitte earns its accolades in part for its focus on “empowered well-being” through numerous advancement initiatives, with 1.7 million female employees taking advantage of leadership development programs in the past year. The professional services company also offers an average of 35 to 42 paid days off throughout the year, allowing all parents to take the necessary time off to spend with their families. An additional perk is the Deloitte Parents Network, which gives employees the opportunity to connect about child-rearing, marriages, special needs, and more. The company also offers an average of 14 fully-paid weeks off for maternity leave.
4. Ernst & Young LLP
Ernst & Young provides excellent services for families overall, regardless of whether Mom or Dad works at the company. The professional services firm gives $25,000 toward fertility treatments or adoption costs, and also provides an average of 16 fully paid weeks of parental leave for the primary caregiver of the household. Nursing mothers have several resources at their disposal, and all parents have access to parenting networks, childcare referral resources, and backup-care programs as needed. Approximately 95% of employees also take advantage of flextime and telecommuting options as well. What’s more, the company is in Working Mother’s “Hall of Fame,” meaning the company has made the 100 best list for 15 years or more. (Ernst & Young has been on the list 20 times.)
The technology giant is one of the leaders in flexible work options, and also provides 14 weeks of paid maternity leave or six weeks of paid leave for adoptions. The company also allows nursing mothers to ship bottles of milk home from business trips — completely free of charge to the employee. All of their employees take advantage of flextime, and the company offers full support for backup child- and eldercare. IBM has made Working Mother’s “best companies” list for the past 30 years, not only making them a Hall of Fame member but also a member of the quarter-century club, something only 10 companies have managed to do.
6. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has made its mark as a healthcare company, and as such provides family-friendly benefits to its employees. Free college counseling, on-site daycare facilities, health and lifestyle coaching, and concierge services are just a few of the perks employees can take advantage of. Parents of either gender can take nine paid weeks off for paternal leave after the birth or adoption of a child, and are also eligible for 10 additional days of paid leave to care for sick family members. For women in particular, advancement is not only common but encouraged, with development programs like the Women’s Leadership Initiative. In 2015, women earned 50% of all promotions to executive positions. Johnson & Johnson has been on this list 31 years, putting them in the same legacy league as IBM.
7. McKinsey & Company
This management consulting firm has perfected its ability to add training and development programs that prepare women for advancement while also meeting their career interests within the company. Job flexibility is enhanced with the options for sabbaticals, secondments, and job rotations, and maternity leave can last for up to a year. Employees of either gender who have children with special needs (including preemies and multiples) can take an extra 20 days of paid leave. What’s more, flextime and telecommuting opportunities are used by 100% of the company’s staff members.
The in-house advocacy for women is what landed PwC on this year’s top 10 list, partially because of its dynamic working-mothers’ group. Female colleagues have the chance to talk about raising kids, using flex time, or ways to advance in the company. “When you hear other people’s stories and what has worked for them, it gives you ideas about how to incorporate more flexibility into your life or further your career,” says manager Mei Yin Ng, a mom of three. The professional-services firm has been on the top 100 list for 22 years, and also offers an average of 15 paid weeks of maternity leave.
9. Prudential Financial
Childcare services at this financial services company are a standout, according to Working Mother. There are on-site daycare centers at some locations, along with daycare discounts nationwide and reimbursements for care during business trips. Parents can also save $5,000 each year in pre-tax dependent-care accounts, with a 25% match from the company. Fitness centers and wellness clinics are widely available, with 90% of employees taking advantage of flextime options. Prudential has been on this list for 27 years; making it another quarter-century club member.
10. WellStar Health System
Families are prioritized in this healthcare company, as employees have the option to take nine months of job-protected time off to care for a sick family member, or care for an infant or newly adopted child. Parents are able to use $10,000 toward adoption costs, and the company also provides on-site daycare facilities, backup care, summer camps, and parenting classes. A concierge service is available to help employees complete their errands list, and the company has a robust system for managing compressed work weeks and other forms of flexible work.