The Employer Even a Mother Could Love
When Stress Recess Inc. president and CEO Devorah Slavin (above), 38, landed a contract to provide massage therapy for Delta Air Lines employees during the tense New Year's Eve holiday, she put out a call to all employees of her Atlanta-based company. She was blown away when one employee voluntarily came in from her maternity leave with her 6-week-old baby.
Increasingly, women with young children are working. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of married women with children under 6 who are employed full time has increased from 14.3 percent in 1978 to 34.7 percent in 1998.
Many of these women are attracted to smaller firms. "In a small organization, the leadership is usually very willing to adapt," says Marcia Kropf, vice president for research and information services at Catalyst, a nonprofit advocacy group for women in the workplace.
Case in point: During the Delta project, Slavin accommodated her employee by scheduling meetings to begin after she picked up her son from a day-care center. The meetings ended in time for his evening feeding so the mom could go to Stress Recess' new "quiet corner" to breast-feed in private.
Though you might not like the idea of allowing moms time off to tend to sick kids and attend school functions, the trade-off is usually worth it. Give moms the flexibility they need to excel in both the work and family arenas, and you'll create fiercely loyal, dedicated employees.
Ticket to Ride
You can help ease your employees' commuting pain. A new government tax break allows companies to hand out up to $65 ($100 starting January 1) worth of vouchers per month for public transportation as an untaxed benefit. The best part about the vouchers is that they can be used across multiple public transit agencies.
Many firms offer the program as an employee-paid benefit. The $65 is deducted from employee paychecks as pretax dollars. Employees benefit by cutting their taxes. In most cities, the company wins by substituting the 3 percent administration fee for all the usual employment taxes. In some cities, companies don't even have to pay the administration fee because the transit agency pays it.
Participating transit agencies are listed on the Department of Transportation's site at www.fta.dot.gov/library/policy/tbpvpd.htm.
Chris Sandlund is a former editor of Success magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com.