Accounting firms populate <i>Working Mother</i> top 100 list

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Working Mother magazine has released its annual list of the top 100 firms for working mothers, and this year, three of the Big Four firms appear in the top 10.

Among the top 10 firms are Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Deloitte isn't far behind at xx, and Grant Thornton and RSM McGladrey also appear on the Top 100 list.

Seven areas are measured and scored in order to arrive at the top 100:

  • Workforce profile
  • Compensation
  • Child care
  • Flexibility
  • Time off and leaves
  • Family-friendly programs
  • Company culture

Every one of the top 100 firms offers telecommuting and flextime options as well as a financial planning option. Ninety-nine percent of the firms offer employee assistance programs and health care insurance for part-time workers. Ninety-eight percent offer a child care resource and referal program, a job-sharing program, and provide a designated area for nursing mothers.

Ernst & Young encourages its employees to take time off, including working flexible hours in order to meet their personal and professional goals, according to a statement issued by the company. In recent years, Ernst & Young has increased personal days and vacation time, including four-day holiday weekends. The firm enhanced its parental leave last year and this year expanded parental leave benefits to include foster care parents as well.

Ernst & Young also has created a flexibility brochure educational series, and promotes designated "flexibility champions" within business units. Approximately 10 percent of the total U.S. Ernst & Young population is on a Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA), including more than 100 partners and principals, executive directors and directors who were promoted while on an FWA.

"We have made it a priority to listen to our working parents and to provide helpful services to meet their unique challenges," noted Billie Williamson, Americas Director of Flexibility and Gender Equity Strategy and a senior client serving partner at Ernst & Young LLP. "We're proud of our flexible and inclusive culture that allows our people to have a dynamic career and family life and that celebrates working parents."

KPMG offers new mothers up to 26 weeks of maternity leave, guaranteeing that their job will be waiting when they return, which applies to births, adoptions or foster care placement. During maternity leave, new mothers are also paid 100 percent of their regular salary for up to six weeks, as well as additional weeks at two-thirds pay, making it financially easier for women to take time off. To ease the transition back to work, new mothers are allowed to phase-in their return to work, initially working part-time schedules.

KPMG also supports working parents by offering flextime, compressed work week, telecommuting, job sharing, reduced workloads, and part time work. The firm also offers free back-up child care and elder care for the inevitable emergencies.

"Even with a supportive work environment, we know that balancing work and family demands is not easy, so we also want to thank our working mothers for their hard work and dedication," said Timothy P. Flynn, KPMG chairman and chief executive. "And supporting working mothers is not only the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense, too. In a tight market for skilled accountants, KPMG knows that retaining our working mothers will be the key to our future success."

You can read all about the Top 100 firms.
Applications are available now for the 2008 competition.

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