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New KPMG Associate Wants to Know What the “Deal” Is with Working Mothers

Yesterday we discussed the plethora of accounting firms that are pro-mom, according to Working Mothers. It seemed like a pretty simple idea – treat moms good = win; treat moms bad = Christ, what kind of hellhole firm are you running? Despite this elementary idea, there still is some questions out there:


On the subject of working mothers…what’s the deal with that? I’m a first year at KPMG and there is another first year who is already pregnant and taking maternity leave soon.

My question is, does she really get promoted on the same schedule as the rest of us? I get the importance of allowing some flexibility for working moms but does it make any sense to treat someone the same as the rest of us when it comes to raises and promotions when they’ve missed out on all the work? I’d love to hear what other readers have experience with this.


KPMG First Year

Well, the “deal” with working mothers is that not having policies that allow them to pursue a career and having a family is what I like to call “doing shitty business.” As to your specific question, the details aren’t clear. It’s not as if she will be on maternity leave for 6 months. KPMG offers up to 9 weeks of paid maternity leave, according to the firm’s profile on WM. That means that there are 43 other weeks (that assumes no PTO, obv) that she will be working. That doesn’t really qualify as “miss[ing] out on all the work” as you put it.

Those who are evaluating her performance should have a pretty good idea whether or not she’s capable of being promoted. Besides, it’s a jump from A1 to A2, not exactly a huge change in responsibilities or expectations. Furthermore, your raise from A1 to A2 isn’t going to be anything to write home about so getting worked up about whether or not she’s getting the same 11% bump as you isn’t worth it.

How the Big 4 Are Helping Career Moms Have It All

The Harvard Business Review’s blog (Harvard blogs?) ran a piece earlier today about a recent Pew Research study that claims more women are not having children.

The HBR brushes over the whole birth control thing and serves its best interest by focusing on what they consider having it all (an advanced degree and at least one child), picking the following statistic out of the hay stack, “in 2008, 24% of women ages 40-44 with a master’s, doctoral or professional degree had not had children, a decline from 31% in 1994.”

This had me thinking about the benefits that the Big 4 provide to their employees going through early parenthood. What might surprise you (or might not) is how similar the firms’ services are.

From PwC.

From Deloitte.

From KPMG.

From E&Y.

Parental leave of absence: “Eligible primary care parents with three months of service can use six weeks of paid parental leave during the year following birth or adoption placement (three weeks for non-primary care parents). This is in addition to maternity disability benefits, if applicable, of 60% to 100% for approximately 8 weeks. Paid parental leave runs concurrently with any job-protected time under family and medical leave.”

Provided by every Big 4 firm:

Adoption assistance – Per EY’s site: “Pays expenses up to $5,000 per child (with an additional $1,000 for special needs children), with paid leave available for the caregivers, along with resource and referral services.”

Lactation program – PwC’s program, explained: “Access to educational materials, unlimited pre/post-birth counseling from nationally recognized lactation specialists and breast pump discounts are available through this program. Private mother’s rooms are also available in many of our offices.” Do conference frooms count as “mothers’ rooms?”

Parental paid leave of absence

Deloitte – 2 weeks (this is all I could find – can anyone prove differently?)

PwC – up to 6 weeks

KPMG – 8 weeks “Professionals who plan to return to work after the birth or adoption, are eligible for two weeks (10 days) of paid child care leave.”

E&Y – 6 weeks

Unique programs:

Family time off – The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 promises 12 weeks of unpaid leave for those employees who need to take care of a sick family member. E&Y extends this service to 16 weeks.

Back up Child and Elder Care – many of the firms provide some kind of support for employees when family care emergencies occur. KPMG takes things one step further by allowing employees to share their unused resources with colleagues that have depleted their resources.

Note – I used external websites when reviewing the different options – these might outdated from what you have internally. Does your local office offer something unique that is not listed here? Share details in the comments.

More Women Manage to Have It All [HBR]