All Big Four accounting firms made Working Mother magazine's 19th annual list of “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” released Tuesday.
Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers all received high marks for their work/life programs, flexible scheduling, and child-care programs, particularly those programs available during busy times of the year. PricewaterhouseCoopers graced this year's top 10 along with Bristol-Meyers, Discovery Communications, Eli Lilly and Company, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Prudential, S.C. Johnson & Son, and Wachovia.
“It's an enormous responsibility to care for a family and succeed at a job, and we're thrilled to see the serious commitment of smart companies to help their employees,” said Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother Media which publishes Working Mother.
Deloitte & Touche
Deloitte makes the list for its eleventh consecutive year, earning high marks for representation in management, work/life culture, advancement and flexibility.
In addition, Working Mother noted that Deloitte's basic benefits for its 31,000 employees are top-notch. New moms with one year of service receive 24 weeks of job-guaranteed leave, with eight weeks paid, while fathers and adoptive parents get two paid weeks.
Also, Working Mother highlighted that Deloitte staffers are hitting the books, averaging $5,371 in tuition aid last year.
Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young continues its seven-year legacy — and eight total years on the list — as a “Best Company” noting that its People First strategy continues to set industry standards for improving people's lifelong careers.
Through its People First strategy, Ernst & Young invests in resources and programs that have set industry standards and helped their people succeed personally and professionally. One key factor in creating a supportive workplace is fostering flexibility. Encouraging its people to have a successful career, while at the same time achieving their personal goals and having a satisfying life, is the cornerstone of Ernst &Young’s flexibility strategy.
Working Mother particularly noted Ernst & Young's Supplemental Time Off program which provides employees in several segments of the firm's tax practice to take as many as 14 weeks of leave at 20 to 33 percent of their base pay from mid-October to mid-January-typically a quiet time for tax professionals. Employees receive full health benefits during their leave.
KPMG received high marks for it's broad, family-friendly approach, including adoption and in vitro benefits, private lactation rooms for nursing mothers and flexible scheduling. Notably, more than 40 percent of KPMG employees take advantage of flexible working arrangements such as job sharing and compressed workweeks.
Working Mother even noted KPMG's benefits for working dads who receive two weeks of paid parental leave; participation in the program is up from 30 percent participation last year to 70 percent this year. New moms who have worked at the firm for at least a year get 26 weeks of job-guaranteed leave, with two weeks fully paid and eight weeks at two thirds of their regular salary.
Perhaps PricewaterhouseCoopers is deserving of the most improved award this year if one were given; not only was it the only Big Four firm to make the top 10, but according to Working Mother magazine, when working mothers told PwC that they needed more time with their newborns, the firm took action and upgraded its parental leave policy. New moms now receive 11 weeks of fully paid leave, up from eight in 2002. PwC fathers get three weeks (up from one), while adoptive parents receive nine weeks (up from six).
PwC also offers an innovative program that limits out-of-town business to three days and lets employees work from home upon return. In fact, PwC discusses flex-time options at each employee annual review.
Additionally, PwC received recognition for its bold move to close offices last year from Dec. 24 to Jan. 5. While the firm estimated it cost $20 million in paid leave for the break, it gambled on the positive effect the message might send that the firm is serious about work/life benefits.
To be named to the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, companies complete a comprehensive application, including questions about a company’s culture, employee population and policies on work/life and women’s advancement.
With the help of industrial research firm eXpert Survey Systems, applications are validated and scored on more than 500 points of information, including the number of work/life programs offered, the employee usage of such programs and the representation of women throughout the company. This year, Working Mother gave particular weight to three issues: flexible scheduling, time off for new parents and child-care options.
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