Testimonials from Local Businesses
These businesses completed a self-assessment to identify strengths and family-friendly workplace practices, policies, and benefits. After reviewing the assessment results, they committed to considering opportunities to implement, improve practices, and policies using the Early Matters Greater Austin Toolkit and other resources.
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IBM is one of several regional businesses that partners with KinderCare to offer a 10% tuition discount and priority placement to employees seeking childcare. In a region where high quality care is not only expensive but in great demand, this benefit enables families to avoid long waiting lists and ensures employees the comfort that children are in a high-quality program meeting their needs.
IBM is also an industry leader in family-friendly programs for employees with comprehensive benefits and additional supportive practices and events. IBM provides 12 weeks paid leave for fathers/partners/adoptive parents and up to 20 weeks for birth mothers, and up to $5,000 in Adoption and Surrogacy Assistance Plan reimbursement. They host a free annual Lactation Course for employees, spouses and domestic partners that includes tips for successful breastfeeding and pumping at work, and they partner with UPS to provide breast milk delivery services for new moms who need to travel for work. IBM Austin holds a “Gold Worksite” designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services for being a mother friendly worksite. They have two beautiful Mother’s Rooms which are outfitted with comfortable chairs, breast pump bases, a full kitchenette with refrigerator, and access to Wi-Fi and phones.
In 2016, IBM launched a 12-week reentry program. Created in collaboration with the iRelaunch and the Society of Women Engineers, IBM’s Tech Re-Entry program is an annual, 12-week internship open to technical women who’ve taken a career break and are looking to re-enter the workforce. These participants receive an executive mentor to help them in their transition back to work with a goal to bring these women into permanent IBM positions. IBM Executives note the assets these employees can bring - returnees have fewer job relocations because many already own a home, are less likely to go on maternity leave or have special childcare needs and have years of professional experience. While few companies have formal reentry programs as part of their diversity initiatives, IBM notes this strategy is effective at attracting skilled employees.
In 1995, T3’s Founder and CEO Gay Gaddis was faced with the unique situation of having several of her most valuable, senior female employees starting families at the same time. Many of these women were hesitant about finding full-time child care and returning to work so soon after giving birth. She was concerned that some may not choose to return at all. Gay also knew that the cost of replacing employees can be staggering (6-9 months’ salary on average according to SHRM). She recognized that T3ers would continue to start families for years to come and she didn’t want to be faced with this same challenge over and over again. As a potential solution, Gay asked the group of new moms if they would be interested in bringing their babies into the office with them. T3 & Under was born. Now 23 years and more than 100 babies later, T3 & Under is still flourishing. It’s a great way for T3 to show its support of family and work-life balance and alleviates some of the stress and anxiety associated with being a new “working parent”.
Both moms and dads are welcome to take advantage of the program
Babies can join the program whenever their parent returns from leave and graduate from the program at 6 months of age
Parents can bring their babies as many as 5 days a week, but many choose to alternate days or even utilize the program every other week
Several dads have joined the program once their partners return from parental leave at other companies
T3 has a dedicated space in its Austin office to support the program
The T3 & Under suite includes personal office setups, pack and plays, a mini fridge, changing table, diaper genie, bottle warmer, noise machines, and other amenities to make it as comfortable as possible
T3 offers reserved parking spots for T3 & Under participants or our pregnant moms during their last trimester
T3 understands that it is nearly impossible to sustain a full workload while participating in T3 & Under, so they do our best to throttle workloads, starting at 10% the first week back in the office and maxing out at 80% during last week of the program
Kendra Scott’s family- first belief has driven her to ensure that all of her employees have the same opportunity to arrange their lives around their families. Notably, the company offers paid family leave for both primary and secondary caregivers, even to employees who haven’t been with the company for a full year. Primary caregivers receive a full twelve weeks and secondary caregivers receive six weeks of paid leave. This has been critical for a business where 95% of their employees are women. The headquarters reflects the family first culture - there is a mother’s room, where moms can freely pump breast milk and store it in the fridge, a game room which is used frequently by employees’ kids on days that kids come to the office with them, and a section in their monthly employee newsletter to celebrate and recognize parents who return from parental leave. Kendra Scott actively pursues ideas and options to incorporate the same principles beyond corporate headquarters but also into distribution center and retail locations. This includes hosting Bring Your Kids to Work event on school holidays when retail stores are open.
The City of Austin offers income-eligible child care assistance of up to $50 per week per child to city employees with children under the age of 13. In addition, the City offers a youth camp scholarship for all employees with children ages 5-12 regardless of household size or income.
The Tuition Reimbursement Program promotes the City’s goals of improving customer service and investing in the workforce by providing financial assistance to employees who take job-related, City career-enhancing credit courses at accredited, degree-granting schools and institutions. The Tuition Reimbursement Program is not intended to provide assistance for staff development training or continuing professional education.
Texas Mutual strives to make a stronger, safer Texas for its customers and communities including its employees. The company’s core focus areas include safety, wellness and education in addition to extensive family friendly policies; Texas Mutual designed their new corporate headquarters in Austin to include space for on-site child care for employees and community members. In addition to this amazing benefit, the company has other family friendly offerings that cultivate a balanced life for employees.
For nearly 1,000 employees they offer a generous benefits package that includes health, vision and pharmacy; free flu vaccinations for employees, their spouses and their children; company-paid short and long term disability; and a company-paid Employee Assistance Program. Paid leave policies consist of paid vacation, sick and holiday leave. A unique feature of the sick leave program is that employees may convert up to 96 unused sick leave hours to vacation hours at a rate of 2:1. Their benefits include a tax-free Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account that employees may contribute to for dependent child care or summer camps.
Employees who can perform their jobs at home may work remotely one or two days a week. If remote work is not feasible, employees have flexibility to work from home occasionally to take care of personal business as well as flexibility to make up time missed to attend to family needs and events. In addition, Texas Mutual offers flexible return-to-work schedules for new parents. This may include working from home initially, and/or returning to work on a part-time basis. Employees may also use sick leave to care for their spouse, child or parent.
“From the time we started planning for a new corporate office, it was important to Texas Mutual’s senior leadership that employees have safe, convenient and high quality child care available in the area. Primrose School, an early education center for infants and young children, will make their home in our new building. The addition of the school to our new headquarters will offer convenient access to childcare for employees, as well as a resource for our new neighbors in and around the Mueller development.“
Sauceda Industries is a local small business that launched less than five years ago in 2013. With a workforce whose average age is between 24 -27, they aspire to incorporate family friendly policies and practices that they can sustain and scale as they grow. Fully-paid parental leave is available to employees - four weeks for fathers and eight weeks for mothers, as well as four weeks for parents who adopt a child. Employees on the office team have the opportunity to bring their newborn infant to work for up to six months or when the infant becomes mobile. In addition, while employees work on a consistent schedule, they are open to working with employees and offering flexibility to accommodate parents as needed. Chief People Officer Priscilla Sauceda notes they strive to have a workplace culture that is all about people bringing their “whole self” to work, and the leadership team makes it a priority to have the resources necessary to be supportive of all team members at all life stages. They aspire for even more family-focused benefits as their business continues to grow and prosper.
"My husband and I founded this company with one simple idea - to create a workplace that we ourselves would want to be a part of. The company was, and continues to be, a vehicle for bettering our lives and the lives of our employees. Our culture is one that is all about building community and our employees and their families are a part of that community. Finding smart, sustainable ways to be flexible and supportive of our employees and their families is something that will always be core to who we are as an organization.” - Priscilla Sauceda, Chief People Officer, Sauceda Industries
With more than 650 employees at 8 locations in the Austin Metro area, Kerbey Lane Cafe has committed to supporting employees at a level above and beyond many in the restaurant and retail sectors. To address scheduling challenges, all management schedules are released four weeks in advance and all hourly schedules are released two weeks in advance, and scheduling software affords team members to pick up or give up shifts as needed. In addition, comprehensive health benefits are available to all team members, even those who are part time, as well as an EAP that provides assistance and information to employees seeking child care or elder care support. In addition to competitive wages for all positions, Kerbey Lane strives to offer opportunities for cross training and promotion. All team members have access to free financial planning and financial literacy training. Finally, Kerbey Lane Cafe partners with the United Way for Greater Austin for quarterly volunteer opportunities to benefit local high quality child care centers in ATX!
“Throughout my experience with cancer, the Kerbey Lane team was conscientious of my needs as a person and as a mother. They provided a level of support I did not realize I needed. My workplace was continually flexible, generous, and thoughtful. It opened an avenue of healing for me and aided in my remission, I am certain. Even without having cancer, Kerbey Lane has been supportive of my family from day one – providing me and my son a level of care I had never experienced. As a team member, I am so happy (and grateful!) to be part of this organization.” – Employee
UPS has a successful strategy of hiring part-time employees and turning them into full time employees. Most full-time UPS employees started at the company as part-time or non-manager employees, including managers and executives. Part-time employees of UPS are eligible to receive up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per year up to a lifetime maximum of $25,000 that enables them to upgrade their skills. Eligibility begins on the date of hire.
P. Terry’s recognizes that many employees in the fast food industry may live from paycheck to paycheck without discretionary income. For this reason, the business provides interest free loans to all employees which can then be paid back over a period of time through paycheck deductions. This can be instrumental in helping a family through an emergency expense from something such as a car repair which can sometimes destabilize a family’s economic well-being.
Employees at P. Terry’s also get a free meal for each shift they work and an annual holiday bonus of $10 for every month worked. In addition, the company bakes a custom birthday cake for each employee.
P. Terry’s also generously focuses corporate philanthropy through “Giving Back Days” that happen once a quarter. On these days they donate a day’s profits at all 14 P. Terry’s Burger Stands restaurants to a local nonprofit organization that provides direct services to the community. “Austin is our home and we feel very much a part of the community. It is very important to us that we give back to the city that has treated us so well.”