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6 Traits of a Family-Friendly Company
Copyright CareerBuilder, LLC -- reprinted with permission
In today's business world, more professionals are juggling their family and work lives, and both men and women are making work/life balance a major determining factor when looking for a job. Whether you're a mom or dad, if you are seeking a new job and want to make sure you find a company that is family friendly, here are six traits to look for in a future employer.

1. A formal philosophy regarding work/life balance.
Look carefully at company materials, including brochures, annual reports and web sites. Does the company talk about its work/life balance initiatives? Can you see signs of policies in the company that were developed to support working parents?

2. An acceptance of flextime and other alternative work arrangements.
Companies today are learning that good work does not just happen from 9 to 5. Many businesses have begun adjusting work schedules to make life easier for working parents. Alternative work arrangements include job sharing, telecommuting, part-time options and flexible scheduling.

3. Childcare options.
Many companies have moved toward providing assistance to parents when it comes to daily childcare. Some companies offer on-site daycare. Other companies provide referral services to help employees find adequate child care providers and dependent care reimbursement accounts, which enable employees to put away money from each paycheck - pre-taxes - in order to pay for child care expenses.

4. Other family friendly benefits.
Many companies have begun offering employees adoption assistance and other unique benefits geared toward families. For example, paid paternity leave for fathers or reimbursement of adoption expenses up to $5,000. Employees may have the option of taking a sabbatical to "recharge their batteries," with benefits and partial pay. Some companies offer additional benefits to help working parents get errands done during the day, such as on-site banking and dry cleaning.

5. Women in executive and managerial positions.
You can tell a lot about a company by its numbers of women in upper management roles. Is it made up entirely of men? While this is not a sure sign that the company is not family friendly, it should cause you to take a closer look at the programs implemented to support working mothers. Some companies have made it possible for women juggling a career and family to succeed through mentoring and advancement programs.

6. Training for employees in the area of work/life balance.
Companies that have a true commitment to work/life balance make sure their employees share that commitment. Some companies have begun implementing this topic of into their training programs. Working Mother says that Prudential Financial Inc. trains its managers on work/life and flexibility, and holds them accountable for ensuring employees are given options and support to succeed.

Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority.