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Providence Health & Services Alaska named a 2009 Working Mother 100 Best Company


100 Best Companies improve support for working moms while nationwide standards sag amid recession

Anchorage, AK - Providence Health & Services Alaska has been named among the 2009 Working Mother 100 Best Companies across the United States for its dedication to family-friendly benefits. Providence Health & Services Alaska and the other winning companies lead the way in pioneering programs that support families.

As the state's largest employer, Providence Health & Services Alaska feels a special responsibility to provide benefits that encourage a healthy family life and a supportive work environment for all its 4,400 employees. Almost 80 percent of Providence's workforce in Alaska are women. This is the third time in five years that Providence has been included among Working Mother's 100 Best Companies.

"Throughout 2008, Providence has not only remained dedicated in supporting our working mothers achieve work/life balance but has begun enhancing and expanding our programs and services," said Al Parrish, chief executive of PH&SA.

Among the 2009 list of Best Companies, 100 percent offering flextime, on-site lactation and telecommuting; and 98 percent offering job-sharing and wellness programs - numbers that dwarf those seen nationwide. In addition, financial programs available to the 100 Best employees are on the rise, a much-needed boost for families in today's economy. These include tuition reimbursement, retirement planning and pre-tax flexible spending accounts for childcare.

By contrast, national numbers* are disappointing, with just 25 percent of companies offering on-site lactation (vs. 100 percent of the 100 Best), 11 percent with stress reduction programs (vs. 96 percent of the 100 Best), 35 percent offering health insurance for part-timers (vs. 99 percent of the 100 Best) and 16 percent offering job-sharing (vs. 98 percent of the 100 Best).

Even in tough economic times, the Working Mother 100 Best Companies employ creative programs that adeptly help employees in all areas of their lives.

During 2008, Providence Health & Services Alaska added preventative wellness offerings to its array of employee benefits. For example, Providence hosted its first annual Employee Women's Health Fair, which encouraged a holistic approach to women's health with an emphasis on prevention. Health fair events included free cervical cancer screenings, mammograms and flu shots. A Prenatal Program was expanded to include the prevention and treatment of postpartum depression. Existing prevention benefits include sports physicals for young family members and a free onsite workout facility for employees.

Also in 2008, Providence developed its first financial assistance program for employees who are adopting children. The program financially supports employees through the various phases of domestic or international adoption, including travel costs, temporary foster care costs, placement fees and counseling support for the family.

Other family support programs include discounted rates on Providence-offered child birth and parenting classes, a new parent information and support group, breastfeeding support, lactation consultation and on-site pump stations, a specialized smoking cessation program and access to nationally accredited on-site child care for children eight weeks through third grade. Among other numerous employee benefits are tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling, use of sick leave to care for ill children, and the ability to work from home.

"The Working Mother 100 Best Companies stand head and shoulders above the rest," said Carol Evans, chief executive officer, Working Mother Media. "The 100 Best provide leadership where and when we need it most, furnishing a framework of support for working families during good times and bad. If all companies adopted these best practices, more families could weather the economic storm."

Profiles of the 100 Best Companies, as well as national comparisons, are in the October issue of Working Mother and at workingmother.com.

"Moms are increasingly becoming the sole breadwinners in many households as men lose their jobs at a higher rate than women," said Suzanne Riss, editor in chief, Working Mother magazine. "Now more than ever, our readers and all working mothers need the support of their employers. These companies epitomize family-friendly support at its best."

Now in its 24th year, the Working Mother 100 Best Companies program draws attention to the significant contributions working mothers make to industries and the companies that recognize the importance of tapping this essential labor pool. "We have faith that some day the programs found at the 100 Best Companies will become business norms offered by all companies," said Evans. "When the economy recovers, lagging companies will lose out on a powerful group of dedicated employees - working moms."

Methodology: Companies were selected for the 2009 Working Mother 100 Best Companies based on an extensive application with more than 500 questions on workforce, compensation, child care, flexibility programs, leave policies and more. It also surveys the usage, availability and tracking of programs, as well as the accountability of managers who oversee them. Seven areas were measured and scored: workforce profile, benefits, women's issues and advancement, child care, flexible work, parental leave and company culture. For this year's 100 Best, particular weight was given to benefits, flexibility and parental leave. For more information on applying for the 2010 Working Mother 100 Best Companies, visit www.wmmsurveys.com.

About Providence Health & Services Alaska
Providence Health & Services Alaska is part of Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit network of hospitals, care centers, health plans, physicians, clinics, home health services, affiliated services and educational facilities. PH&SA is Alaska's largest private employer and operates Providence Alaska Medical Center. For more information about PH&SA, visit: www.providence.org/alaska.

About Working Mother Media
Celebrating 30 years, Working Mother magazine reaches 2 million readers and is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers while workingmother.com brings to the Web a broad range of insight and solutions served to working mothers every day. Working Mother's 24-year signature research initiative, Working Mother 100 Best Companies, is the most important benchmark for work-life practices in corporate America.

*National statistics are taken from a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management.
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