Mentor employee Tiffany Wallace-Anderson breaks for face time with her 18-month-old triplets.

Family-Friendly Policies

By 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 80 percent of Oregon parents with kids under 18 will be in the workforce, and the National Council in Aging estimates that 40 percent of employees will assist their elderly parents by 2020. That means the average worker really has two or more full-time jobs. These three companies demonstrate how investing in policies now to address America’s changing demographics makes for a workplace that works for employees and their families.

Mentor Graphics

Business: Software development technology
Location: 8005 SW Boeckman Rd, Wilsonville
Employees: 1,100
1-yr Job Growth: 5.5%
Hiring: Software engineers, early education teachers, IT architects
Contact: www.mentor.com

Every morning, Robert Klohr hugs his 2-year-old daughter goodbye, then exits the bright purple preschool and walks an eighth of a mile to his office, where he sits down behind a 24-inch flat-screen monitor and designs software chips that will be used in electronics—from refrigerators to cell phones—worldwide. Bradley is one of 120 employees at Mentor Graphics who take advantage of the ultimate in family-friendly perks: an on-site preschool, run by the company itself, with eight classrooms and 36 teachers.

“Some distractions in the workplace are worries about children,” says Gillian Brune, director of Mentor’s Child Development Center. “So we take that worry off parents’ minds.” For 15 years—longer than any other Portland-area company—Mentor has provided an accredited preschool for infants as young as 2 months and children as old as 6.

The center, which is subsidized, is completely open to parents throughout the workday. “We’re not tucked away,” says Brune. “We’re an integral part of the campus.” At any time, parents can stroll over and say hello, take their child to lunch at the cafeteria or play a game of catch with them on the baseball field. Likewise, children—with a teacher’s help—can send e-mail to their parents and take field trips to visit mom or dad in their offices.

Such family-friendly policies extend beyond education. The company boasts a private “Mothers’ Room,” a luxe nursing station with a breast pump, refrigerator and lounging couch; it provides fully paid, four-month maternity leaves; and it reimburses adoption fees 100 percent. Plus, to allow employees the opportunity to plan for the future, Mentor offers them company stock twice a year at a 15 percent discount, with a guaranteed price lock over 24 months—which means shares trading at $16 have been available for as little as $8, Brune says. “It’s so generous,” she adds, “that some employees are saving enough to put their child through college with this.

Policies & Perks.

Health insurance premium: 80%. Hours per week required for benefits: 20. Retirement plan: 401(k): 50% match up to 6% of salary. Vacation days: 0+ years, 24 days. Yearly turnover rate: 7.3%. Vision/dental plans, domestic partner benefits, formal flex-time policy, formal telecommuting policy, formal job-share policy, subsidized continuing education, subsidized child care, and fitness facilities/ discounts.

Hanna Andersson

Business: Children’s apparel company
location: 1010 NW Flanders
Employees: 156
1-yr Job Growth: N/A
Hiring: Sales associates, designers, customer service representatives
Contact: www.hannaandersson.com

“Many moms and dads work here,” says COO Adam Stone, whose own office in the company’s headquarters, located above the storefront on NW 10th Ave, is chock-full of pictures of his 7-year-old daughter. Over 60 percent of Hanna Andersson’s employees are parents like Stone. Their families benefit from the company’s liberal vacation policy—over four weeks of paid time off per year—which kicks in during the first year of employment. The company also offers a child care reimbursement of up to $2,500 annually, a subsidy of $2,000 per adoption and on-site nursing rooms for mothers.

Hanna Andersson children’s clothing, begun out of founder Gun Denhart’s garage in 1983, has become a $100-million-a-year business, thanks to both its bright floral and boldly striped designs, which parents can’t resist, and its commitment to high-quality fabrics. It was also the first retailer in the nation to become “Öko-Tex certified,” meaning that all articles labeled “organic” have been tested for 100 substances deemed potentially harmful to kids.

And despite the more traditional depictions of “family” in its catalogs, Hanna Andersson has long acknowledged that family means different things to different people: It was one of the first companies in Portland to offer domestic-partner benefits to both heterosexual and same-sex couples, and today the company is leading the way on a workplace issue that is becoming more pressing as the population ages—elder care. A corporate program offers financial advice, education and counseling to employees needing to balance their careers with the needs of dependent elders. “We’re constantly looking at how family is changing,” says Stone. “Hanna wants to be on the forefront.”

Policies & Perks:

Health insurance premium: 80%. Hours per week required for benefits: 30. Retirement plan: 401(k): 100% match up to 4% of salary. Vacation days: 0+ years, 23 days. Yearly turnover rate: less than 10%. Vision/dental plans, domestic partner benefits, subsidized commuting, subsidized continuing education, and subsidized child care.


Business: Athletic footwear, apparel and equipment company
Location: One Bowerman Dr, Beaverton
Employees: 5,000
1-yr Job Growth: 8% (globally)
Hiring: Sales, marketing, designers, engineers
Contact: www.nike.com

It’s apparent to even the most casual observer that the 183-acre Nike campus headquarters, with its three sports fields, two fitness facilities and miles of running trails, is designed to encourage employees to stay active and healthy. Less well-known is that the company extends such amenities to employees’ families—even if the employee defines “family” as a third cousin, once removed. That means any family member can take advantage of the fitness center’s 11-lane lap pool or new-model elliptical trainers; deep-tissue massage and cancer screenings at the on-site wellness center; and corporate programs designed for teens that teach them how to start a babysitting business or perform CPR.

Through local employee-only outlets and an online store, families can also receive discounts of up to 50 percent on Nike gear. “Even my sister-in-law is able to buy shoes for her kids,” notes communications associate Jenny Muller. For parents directly employed by Nike, the company offers an early education center for kids up to 5 years old and an emergency drop-off center where employees’ children can receive care when, say, school is unexpectedly canceled. (In September 2008, a second preschool will open for an additional 300 children.) Nike’s “Return from Parental Leave” program even allows moms and dads returning from a three-month paid parental leave to customize their own part-time work schedules for an additional three months.

“Much of what we offer is employee-driven,” says Muller, citing the company’s “summer hours.” Nike allows employees to take half-days on Fridays between Memorial and Labor Days—though instead of taking off early, employees have been known to invite their families to the campus for the afternoon instead.

Policies & Perks:

Health insurance premium: 87%. Hours per week required for benefits: 20. Retirement plan: 401(k): 100% match up to 5% of salary. Vacation days: 0-5 years, 15 days; 6+ years, 25 days. Vision/dental plans, domestic partner benefits, formal flex-time policy, formal telecommuting policy, formal job-share policy, subsidized commuting, subsidized continuing education, subsidized child care, fitness facilities/ discounts, and paid sabbaticals.