Tom's Of Maine A National 'Workplace Model Of Excellence'

For every parent trying to get their employer to initiate or upgrade their family workplace policy, here's a story that should awe-inspire,
if not shame, your employer into action.

The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), a leader and resource in maternal and child health, has named Tom's of Maine a Workplace Model of Excellence. The 2003 award recognizes Tom's creative and holistic approach to promote the health and well-being of families. Each year, HMHB acknowledges employers that distinguish themselves with exemplary family-friendly programs.

"We believe in cultivating the best possible relationships with our co- workers," adds Tom Chappell, president and co-founder of Tom's of Maine. "Kate and I raised five children while building our business, so we know how important work and family issues are. Establishing an environment that respects and values our employees and their families is the most meaningful way to show we care." Tom's notable programs include flexible work schedules, generous parental leave for mothers and fathers, long-term care insurance and employee wellness programs. Tom's employees are also encouraged to spend up to 5% of paid work time volunteering in their communities."

What The Program Includes

Founded in Kennebunk, Maine by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970, Tom's of Maine is the leading creator of safe, effective Natural Care products that work -- for consumers, the environment, and communities.

Their family-friendly programs include: .

    * Flexible work schedules, teleconferencing. Many employees have laptops to support flexible work options.
    * Generous medical and dental benefits (72% premium for singles or families paid by Tom's, 28% by the employee); domestic partners are also covered.
    * Four weeks parenting leave -- Tom's provides one month full salary for new mothers and fathers, a benefit coordinated with maternity leave, adoption, or foster child leave.
    * Long-Term Care Insurance -- Tom's of Maine pays for a base benefit of $2,000 per month for each employee. Employees may also enroll their spouse, child, parent or grandparent at discounted rates.
    * Child care reimbursement for employees meeting eligibility requirements.
    * Employee Assistance Program for child/elder care, life improvement, or work/family issues.
    * Dependent and medical care spending accounts.
    * Onsite Wellness Center -- Wellness programs and individualized fitness instruction are offered free of charge, and staffed by a full-time Wellness Leader. Tom's also subsidizes on-site massages.
    * Health & wellness benefit of $100 ($200 for non-Maine-based employees) to use for anything that contributes to an employee's overall well- being.
    * 401K Retirement Savings -- Tom's provides a non-participating match on the first 3% of employees' pay, followed by a 100% company match on the next 3% of employees' contributions. The contribution cap is 15% and the employee is fully vested in five years.
    * Volunteer time -- Employees are encouraged to volunteer 5% of their paid work time in organizations that support education, the environment, human need, or the arts.
    * Fresh, free fruit baskets are replenished weekly at all Tom's factory, administrative, and warehouse locations.
    * Free Tom's of Maine Natural Care products for employees, and a 25% discount in the company's Natural Living Store.

While your employer may not be able to initiate all of these valuable programs at once, at least you'll be presenting them with some food for thought. You never know what can come from sharing this article with the powers that be