It’s not easy being a working mom, but it’s certainly easier for moms who happen to work at some of today’s top companies. To compete for talent, many are offering amazing perks—from help choosing baby gear and buying breast pumps to fabulous onsite daycares—to lure more working moms into their ranks (and more crucially, to keep star employees after they have kids).
Of course, what’s considered over-the-top in the United States is par-for-the-course in countries like Sweden, which offer subsidized daycare and long maternity leaves. Here’s to hoping that the following perks will one day be commonplace for working moms here at home. In the meantime, let’s raise a glass (or bottle) to what some companies are doing to keep moms happy:
1. They ship your breastmilk. Moms who breastfeed and travel for work are very familiar with the dilemma of storing pumped milk. (Pouring that liquid gold down the drain is almost literally painful, while keeping it cold can be a big hassle and paying to ship it can be pricey.) Now, companies like Ernst & Young, IBM, Accenture, Twitter and The Dow Chemical Company shoulder the oft-hefty fee of shipping breast milk back home when mom is on the road.
2. They help plan your baby shower—and throw you a lavish one at work. Fifth Third Bancorp now offers two maternity concierges who help the expectant mothers at the Cincinnati-based bank plan their own baby showers with family and friends. Some companies are taking it a step further and feting new moms themselves with lavish showers. Yahoo, for example, offers a “new child shower” once every quarter to celebrate the employees who recently became parents.
3. They pick out your gear, order your birth announcements and plan your gender reveal party. The concierges at Fifth Third Bancorp don’t just plan baby showers—they also locate photographers for pregnancy portraits, order birth announcements, recommend strollers and gear, scout daycare options, buy breast pumps and research fitness programs for new moms looking to get back in shape. Want to throw a gender reveal party? They even work with moms-to-be to plan the event.
4. They offer thousands for fertility treatments. It’s no secret that more moms today turn to fertility specialists to help become pregnant, but many employers’ insurance plans provide paltry coverage (if any). Not so for Ernst & Young, which provides up to $25,000 for fertility treatments and adoption, and Barclays, which covers up to $30,000 for IVF treatments. Tech giant Intel offers up to $60,000. For women who want to be moms someday (but not 9 months from now), animal-health company Zoetis offers $15,000 for treatments, including egg freezing.
5. They host fabulous onsite daycares. One of the most challenging tasks for working moms is finding a convenient and high-quality daycare. At Clif Bar & Company's Clif Base Camp, employees’ kids have access to indoor and outdoor areas for five distinct age groups (up to age 12), including a music room and even a pint-sized treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and bench press. The Bernice E. Lavin Early Childhood Education Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital—the largest onsite childcare center in Chicago—hosts an art studio, science library, dance studio and indoor physical activity spaces.
6. They help moms of special needs kids. Being a mom is tough work, but being the parent of a kid with special needs comes with additional challenges—and more companies are recognizing those challenges. Bank of America offers financial-planning sessions for those raising children on the autism spectrum. At Capital One, parents can meet other families and swap advice in its Autism Spectrum Connection group. At management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., employees raising kids with special needs (including preemies and multiples can get guidance from a firm-contracted doctor and receive 20 extra paid days of parental leave.
7. They pay for backup care. Every working mom is familiar with this conundrum: What do you do when your daycare is closed or your nanny is sick? For most, it means using up precious vacation or personal days. But not for mothers who work at companies that pay for backup childcare, like Moffitt Cancer Center, which subsidizes 20 days annually. Prudential Financial covers 200 hours of backup care per year for its employees. And HP offers 10 free days of backup-care services, which includes in-home visits.