For new moms, returning to work can be complicated. They're excited to get back to their jobs, but might be struggling with leaving their baby or getting used to child care. As supporting working families enters the national consciousness, employers are realizing that whatever they can do to ease the transition for working mothers will make for a happier mom and more productive employee.
Here, we'll outline five great benefits that new mothers are finding in the workplace.
Paid Maternity LeaveRead about 20 companies offering great maternity leave.
When only about 16 percent of companies in the United States even offer any paid time off for maternity leave, this benefit is definitely ahead of the curve. Yahoo offers new moms 16 weeks off and also tosses in some “baby bucks” for new parents to load up on baby gear. Google clocks in with five months of paid maternity leave, while Cisco offers six months of paid leave and new moms at Ernst & Young can count on 39 weeks of paid leave.
Flexible Time to Work
When maternity leave is over, a mom goes back to work. But her life is hardly back to a normal routine. Some companies offer new moms a chance to ease back into a full schedule, making a sometimes difficult transition much less stressful.
At CA Technologies, new mothers are allowed to reduce their work hours by 50 percent and then 25 percent for the first two weeks back at work -- and at normal pay. Many of Intel’s employees telecommute and for a new mom this can help her work, while being close to her baby, too (they do need to hire a nanny to take care of the baby while they're working). KPMG offers alternative schedules that allow moms to work reduced hours for a significant time.
Help from Others
Pricewaterhouse Coopers knows having a shoulder to lean on can make a huge difference during a life transition. Their Mentor Mom program matches up experienced moms with new or expectant moms. Even before the baby is born, moms have a chance to ask their mentors for all kinds of advice about making that work/life balance successful. The process continues until the baby turns one. McKinsey & Company offers new moms coaching from a mothers’ network manager, who doles out advice and support.
Private Space for Nursing
What new mom wants to have to pump in a shared bathroom? To help nursing moms keep to an established breastfeeding schedule, companies who welcome nursing moms with a separate lactation area earn kudos.
Cardinal Health gives nursing moms the royal treatment, with lactation rooms that have cozy chairs, sinks, refrigerators and even teleconferencing capabilities. Harvard University offers several rooms that even provide pumps. Penn State goes a step further, offering a breastfeeding mentor program, reduced rates for pumps and a breastfeeding support group.
Backup Child Care
When even the best laid plans go awry, new mothers like to know they have a fall back. Companies that offer a backup child care benefit or on-site child care give working families the security of knowing their kids are in good care as they make the transition.