Yale again named a ‘Best Company’ by Working Mother magazine

Yale University has again been selected by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies” in the nation. Working Mother’s “Best Companies” initiative, now in its 27th year, recognizes organizations for their leadership in creating family-friendly benefits and programs.
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(Illustration by Michael Helfenbein)

Yale University has again been selected by Working Mother magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies” in the nation. Working Mother’s “Best Companies” initiative, now in its 27th year, recognizes organizations for their leadership in creating family-friendly benefits and programs.

“For the third consecutive year, Yale has received national recognition as one of Working Mother magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies,’” said President Richard C. Levin.  “We are thrilled to have this external recognition once again, and we value greatly the flexible and family-friendly work environment that the University has created over time. This flexible and family-friendly culture on our campus enables us to attract and retain top talent at all levels of the University.”

Yale received its highest scores for the representation of women in its workforce last year, its work-life programs, paid time-off policies, child care programs, access to comprehensive healthcare, and benefits that are unique to Yale, such as the scholarship for sons and daughters and the homebuyers program. All of these, the magazine noted, recognize that women are faced with competing demands, and need support and understanding to manage their personal and professional responsibilities.

“We are honored to be selected by Working Mother magazine for their list of America’s best companies for working mothers,” said Mike Peel, vice president of Human Resources and Administration. “We recognize that our faculty and staff face increasing challenges in balancing their professional and personal responsibilities, and we are committed to finding new tools and solutions to make our work environments even more responsive to their needs.”

Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media, notes, “We are proud to honor Yale as a ‘2012 Working Mother 100 Best Company. Women make up 66% of succession planning candidates and 50% of executives at Yale (including four of nine officers); they have even filled the majority of spots in recent leadership and coaching courses. Yale was also cited for its 143,000-square-foot health facility and 12 lactation rooms for new mothers.”

The magazine annually recognizes organizations that make it possible for women to advance in their workplaces. Women who work at Yale make up 47% of its senior management, and 57% of all managers. Last year, 268 women were promoted into management; 534 received training through the program Managing at Yale – comprising 69% of attendees. In addition to new female leadership appointments in the library and public affairs and communications, the two most recently appointed officers of the University are women.

Yale Health’s on-campus facility — which serves over 36,000 employees, families, and students — was one of the important factors contributing to the University’s winning score, according to Working Mother. This praise echoes that of The National Committee for Quality Assurance, which in 2011 recognized the health facility as a model of 21st-century primary care, awarding it a perfect score for its accomplishments as a Patient-Centered Medical Home due to the quality of attention individuals received from their care providers and the relationships built throughout the Yale system. The health center offers extended hours; early-morning pediatric consultations, so parents can plan arrangements at work and school; convenient online appointment scheduling; and confidential online communication with care providers.

Yale Health is the preferred healthcare provider for over 71% of all employees, and offers full family coverage. For 64% of the employees on the health plan, there is no cost, with a minimal sliding scale contribution for others. Yale Health offers countless wellness programs, interactive tools, and classes on such topics as pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight loss, and healthy eating. It also provides free family flu clinics, free mammograms, and free diabetes screening. In 2011, Yale Health launched the American Cancer Society’s FreshStart program for employee smoking cessation.

Helping working mothers to solve child-care issues is another important criterion for making it onto Working Mother’s top 100 list. To address the needs of parents, Yale offers access to five quality, on-site childcare centers, all accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Two of them began their association with Yale parents in the early 1970s. Because these centers are close to work, mothers can visit frequently or respond quickly to a child’s need or in an emergency. Additionally, two new campus lactation rooms were added in 2011, bringing the total number to 12 rooms.

Since 2004, the free online Yale Babysitting Service has linked more than 1,900 registered parents to babysitters in a pool of 1,400 registered Yale students, who are often available for last-minute requests. Yale subsidizes 40 hours of back-up childcare at home or if traveling. Named after the first woman professor granted full tenure at Yale, the Anne Coffin Hanson Fund grants $1,000 to eligible faculty members to cover childcare expenses while traveling.

Working Mother also lauded Yale’s time-off program for providing greater flexibility in work-life balance. Last year, staff members on average accrued nine sick days (to care for themselves or a family member’s illness) and up to 22 vacation days, as well as 14 paid holiday/recess days — with a substantial carryover allowance from year to year.

Other benefits that helped Yale make the grade:

  • Homebuyers Program: This distinctive program, established in 1994, provides employees with up to $30,000 to help them purchase homes in designated New Haven neighborhoods. To date, 1,013 employees have purchased homes using this program; 17 women used the benefit in 2011 alone.
  • The Scholarship for Sons and Daughters: This benefit provides eligible employees up to $15,200 annually for children at any accredited undergraduate college. In 2011, Yale spent over $11 million on the scholarship, with 1,000 employees receiving 2,143 scholarships for their children.
  • Counseling & Support Services: Yale now provides free legal services through the Counseling & Support Services program. The University also offers extensive, confidential counseling sessions with mental health specialists, work-life and stress management support, and adoption counseling, and it maintains a library of eldercare and childcare resources for employees and their families.
  • Retirement plans and more: Employees have a choice of three generous retirement plans (pension, defined contribution with 5% maximum match, and tax-deferred 403B savings), and can take advantage of flexible spending accounts, and free MEDEX Travel (emergency medical and assistance when traveling).
  • On-site learning: Yale provides learning opportunities for continued professional education. Courses in management, technology, and career development are offered at the on-site Learning Center. Almost 3,000 employees attended classes in 2011; two thirds were women. All employees and spouses may audit most Yale College and Graduate School courses for free, with the permission of their supervisor and the course instructor.
  • Tuiton Reimbursement & Women’s Scholarships: Yale provides tuition assistance to staff members who are earning a degree or taking work-related courses at other institutions. The University spent over $1 million on tuition reimbursement for 423 employees in 2011. Employees were offered up to $5,250/year, depending on their eligibility and service. Also, the Yale Women’s Organization (YUWO) awarded five scholarships to women employees who sought to further their education in 2011; all told, YUWO has awarded 284 scholarships over the years.
  • Physical wellness programs: While programs at the Yale Health Center and Payne Whitney Gym are well utilized in general, the WorkLife program has also been offering stress-reduction programs in outlying areas of the campus for the convenience of employees. Weekly Zumba classes were brought to the Science Park area. An early-morning yoga series is hosted at the Office of International Students and Scholars, and there is a lunchtime yoga class in the Human Resources building. At West Campus, a new gym was added for employees — equipped with fitness machines, weights, and locker rooms.

The full profiles of the 100 Best Companies are available online at www.workingmother.com and in the October issue of Working Mother magazine.

Mother and child image via Shutterstock.

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Media Contact

Hellen Hom-Diamond: hellen.hom-diamond@yale.edu, 203-432-7444