The arms race for better benefits at large employers has improved work life balance for thousands of workers, and one group in particular — new parents.
Working Mother magazine released its annual 100 Best Companies list on Tuesday, choosing the top employers based on a variety of benefits, including paid leave, flexible work schedules, female advancement and child care.
Every company on the list offers paid maternity leave, while 97% offer paid time off for adoption and 96% give paid leave for new fathers.
And the companies are becoming more generous with their maternity leave. The average paid leave for new moms at the 100 companies on the list increased to nine weeks this year, up from eight. Among the 10 best companies, the average increased to 11 weeks.
While these numbers are encouraging, most new parents are still forced to choose between taking time off to stay home with their baby and keeping a paycheck.
The United States is the only developed nation that doesn’t guarantee paid family leave. Federal law only offers eligible new parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job protection under The Family and Medical Leave Act.
Paid family leave has become a hot issue on the presidential campaign trail, but many companies aren’t waiting for the government to mandate paid time off.
The professional services industry, which includes consulting and accounting firms like McKinsey and Deloitte, offers new mothers the most amount of fully-paid time off on the list off with an average of 11 weeks, according to the report.
For instance, at A.T Kearney, new moms or workers who adopt are offered up to a year off at partial pay. They can also switch to a part-time work schedule with limited travel.
The financial services industry comes in second with its average of 10 weeks, followed by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries that both offer eight weeks.
What’s the driving force behind companies rethinking their benefits? Millennials.
“It’s not just women asking for it, men are asking for it too,” said Subha Barry, vice president and general manager at Working Mother Media. “Young parents want to be active and involved in their children’s lives. Many things that used to be ‘working mom issues’ have become more mainstream.”
The list, which Working Mother has done for more than three decades, is based on a 400-question online application.
Companies are also becoming more flexible with their schedules, offering compressed work schedules, flextime or telecommuting.
“They are starting to realize people won’t just stay with them because they are writing that paycheck,” said Barry, “Lifestyle is important.”
Here are the top 10 best companies for 2016, according to Working Mother:
Ernst & Young
McKinsey & Co.
WellStar Health System