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Family-Friendly Companies

For the past three decades, as more women entered - and remained in - the workforce, companies have increased their family-friendly policies, including maternity leave, time off to care for a sick child, family health benefits, and flex time to accommodate day care and school schedules. Now dads want in on the trend. As more men are taking an increasingly active role in their kids' lives, they are demanding equal rights.

According to a recent survey by, 45 percent of respondents said their companies don't offer any paternity leave, while 67 percent said they felt pressure to return to work following the birth of a child. Marc Cenedella, president and CEO of, explains "Fathers want to spend more time with their kids and, as a society, we would love to see dads more involved, but that's just not reflected in workplace policies."

But dads have begun fighting for their rights. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of fathers filing discrimination complaints is rising. And a survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants found that 85 percent of recruiters have reported candidates rejecting job offers because it wouldn't include sufficient work-life balance, while 90 percent of recruiters questioned say work-life balance considerations are more important now than they were just five years ago.

So what should you look for in a family-friendly company? Here are some benefits offered by top companies:

Cafeteria-Style Benefits Plans - US Federal tax law allows plan participants to receive certain medical benefits on a pre-tax basis. Once the plan is established with your employer, a set amount of money is deducted from your paycheck and set aside for eligible expenses, including health care costs, dependent care assistance, and adoption assistance.

Health Insurance for Dependents - Some employers include dependents in their employees' health insurance plans, which can mean huge cost savings over time.

Child Care Assistance - Some employers provide child care allowance, discounts at local child care providers, or low-cost child care or even free on-site child care.

Paternity Leave - The Federal Family Medical Leave Act entitles fathers to 12 weeks of time off (without pay) in a year when they adopt a child or when a child is born. But some employers will allow you to use accumulated sick leave and vacation time or even paid time off and some states grant dads additional benefits.

Flexible Schedules - Flex time can include flexible start or end times each day, work-from-home arrangement, or working more hours in fewer days (40 in 4 days with one day off).

Talk to your employer to determine if your company offers any of these benefits or would be willing to implement them. And if you're in the market for a new job and want to hold out for family-friendly benefits, you may just get them!



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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