Ten best companies for working moms

The best companies for working mothers offer good benefit packages.

Story highlights

  • The best companies often have good benefits for moms who can only work 20 hours a week
  • TriHealth, whose employees are 83% women, offers extensive child care services
  • At WellStar women earn two thirds of the very highest salaries and oversee most of the profit-and-loss decisions
Stressed about work-life balance? Take a look at this list from Parenting's sister magazine Working Mother of the top ten companies that keep working moms' needs in minds, excerpted from the Working Mother 100 Best Companies.
Employees: 30,379
Women: 47%
Headquarters: New York, NY
What We Love
Working a reduced schedule won't hurt your career at this audit, tax and advisory services firm: Moms who put in just 20 hours per week still earn full benefits and remain under consideration for top jobs. In 2010, the firm added training that helps them better navigate the workplace and advance in their careers; nationwide sessions assist the human resources team in advising and managing employees on such arrangements. At present, more than one tenth of female client-service partners, directors and managers have cut their hours—and nearly all say that it has made them feel happier, more committed and more supported by the firm.
General Mills
Employees: 16,803
Women: 40%
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN
What We Love
This major food manufacturer earns employees' loyalty by investing in programs that support their long-term satisfaction. Its recent great Manager initiative, for example, used training courses, mentoring circles and town halls to teach officers and directors how to inspire and motivate their workers. To help people make more time for family, the company promotes flexible schedules, grants 26 job-guaranteed weeks off for a birth or adoption (with $10,000 in adoption aid) and allows employees to take three weeks of vacation in their first year. At the Minneapolis headquarters, an on-site center looks after infants ages 6 weeks to 16 months; everyone else has access to discounts at 63 near-site child-care facilities and may request backup-care subsidies.
Employees: 40,984
Women: 43%
Headquarters: New York, NY
What We Love
Sprawling across 700,000 square feet on a massive plot of land in Westlake, TX, is this professional services firm's new Deloitte University, which boasts hundreds of training courses for its employees. As they pursue their career goals, moms telecommute, ramp up or reduce their workloads, take paid sabbaticals and even go on five-year breaks, all the while maintaining connections to office mentors and freelance work. Gender-neutral parental leave policies grant at least eight fully paid weeks off to primary caregivers and three fully paid weeks off to secondary caregivers after the birth or adoption of a child. To keep costs down, employees use the firm's mortgage assistance, tap up to $10,000 in annual tuition aid and invest in pretax commuter, health-care and dependent-care accounts.
Discovery Communications
Employees: 3,094
Women: 54%
Headquarters: Silver Spring, MD
What We Love
Can't find time to get a blood test, physical or EKG? Employees at the Silver Spring headquarters and Miami and New York sites of this nonfiction media company simply walk down the hall to their office wellness clinics, which offer free acute and primary care (and basic prescription drugs) to workers and their children over age 14. Since 2004, the clinics have doled out some $7 million in medical care to employee families, which has put money back in parents' wallets. To improve their mental health, moms join the Working Families Group (a parenting network that debuted in October 2010) and take workshops on women's finances, home-buying and retirement. Anyone who pays for an exercise class or athletic activity may be reimbursed for 50% of the cost, up to $50 per month.
Ernst & Young
Employees: 23,899
Women: 48%
Headquarters: New York, NY
What We Love
If you're surrounded by talented people, it makes sense to seek their advice on work life matters, which is what the female employees of this professional services firm often do. Meeting at the discussion forums, book clubs, lectures, dinners and outings hosted by the firm's more than 70 U.S. professional women's networks, they share their goals, hopes and challenges, forging key relationships. If they have a question about how to achieve balance, they can turn to the firm's affinity groups for working moms, parents and those raising kids with special needs. And if their teens are going through rocky times, they can ask its employee assistance program to arrange counseling or join a dedicated online support group.
Prudential Financial
Employees: 20,023
Women: 53%
Headquarters: Newark, NJ
What We Love
It's easy to find people to admire at this financial services firm, where moms run two of the three highest-earning businesses and the number of women promoted to senior management increased by 51% in 2010. Encouraged by their example, female employees have recently doubled their participation in its career-counseling and life-coaching programs. Those in the retirement and life insurance divisions enjoy their own leadership forums, but mentoring and tuition assistance are widely available. Women who work 20 hours per week can take nine partially paid weeks off after the birth of a child.
Employees: 10,114
Women: 83%
Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH
What We Love
Employee kids are everywhere at this health-care system -- working as candy stripers, roaming the halls during holiday parties, running through the on-site gymnasium and taking swimming, babysitting and yoga classes. In 2010, the organization expanded its day-care center to accommodate growing families, and now looks after 98 kids ages 6 weeks to 10 years. Children confronting tough issues get special help, with sessions on how to stay safe at home alone offered to those in grades three through six and a free retreat offered to older kids who've lost their parents. Mentoring and leadership initiatives and tuition aid abound for ambitious moms, who rely heavily on flex schedules; a very helpful employee assistance program can locate extra dependent care and provide parenting and health coaching.
Employees: 20,601
Women: 47%
Headquarters: New York, NY
What We Love
Facing any new parenting situation for the first time can be tough, something this professional services firm recognizes with its Parents in the Know initiative (available in Boston and New York City). No matter what stage of life an employee is in—having a baby, adopting, returning to work—she can be put in touch with a colleague who has been through it and can offer advice. To help parents in Kansas City, the firm's women's network just debuted a Working Parents group (joining similar ones in other locations), which hosts social outings and informative lectures. Across the firm, parents attend seminars on nutrition for young children and learn how to help kids do well in school. While women earned half of all promotions to manager, senior manager and executive last year, the growth of virtual meetings means they don't have to stay in the office to be considered top performers.
Employees: 13,046
Women: 83%
Headquarters: Marietta, GA
What We Love
Financial acumen is prized by this health-care organization, where women earn two thirds of the very highest salaries and oversee most of the profit-and-loss decisions. Aware that they shape the organization's future, many take advantage of the executive mentoring offered by its 21st Century leadership program, which allows them to work on projects aligned with their employer's goals. As they rise, women also utilize tuition aid, which covers 100% of their job-related college courses or degrees, up to $4,500 annually. Smaller perks help them save for the future, from discounts on sports and entertainment activities to inexpensive backup care and deals on respite and full-time care for elder relatives, offered at an on-site assisted-living facility.
Bank of America
Employees: 248,074
Women: 60%
Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
What We Love
Family health insurance is worth its weight in gold these days, but parents at this leading bank only need to work 20 hours per week to earn it. If they want to cut their out-of-pocket costs, they can save $5,000 annually in pretax health accounts; similar versions offset dependent-care and commuter expenses. While ten on and near-site child-care centers offer subsidies, parents can also call a resource and referral service to locate nannies, day cares, backup assistance and special-needs caregivers. Employees who are thinking about the future may consult the benefits Education and Planning center, whose counselors will pinpoint savings goals for their retirement and work with them to build a long-term financial strategy. Altruistic types may take two paid hours off per week to volunteer; over a year, that's 13 days.