Newell Rubbermaid posted a news release today on its plans to open a premium child care center at its headquarters in Georgia. That got me thinking about how rare it is these days for companies to promote that they offer excellent benefits. I'm not a complete skeptic. I know that many companies -- including plastics suppliers and processors -- are known for their great worker relations. But after we all witnessed the debates in Ohio and Wisconsin this year about public sector union worker benefits, I'm starting to feel like there's a backlash against workers getting anything beyond the bare minimums. Newell Rubbermaid's news release said the child development center at its Sandy Springs headquarters "will complement the company's comprehensive benefit offerings designed to meet the diverse needs of a multi-generational workforce." The company said it also offers flexible work options, back-up child and elder care and a program to help new mothers transition back to work. "Newell Rubbermaid is committed to being an employer of choice by providing benefits that support the needs of a diverse and multi-generational workforce," said Joe Ketter, vice president of corporate human resources. Offering employees convenient, affordable child care will help retain top talent, he said. The company said classrooms at the new child care center will incorporate Newell Rubbermaid products, incuding Graco-brand items. (I had to think for a minute why Little Tikes toys weren't mentioned in the release -- then I remembered that Tikes now is owned by MGA Entertainment Inc.) Is Newell Rubbermaid's announcement a sign of good things to come for employee benefits at other companies? I think we can be skeptical about that. Good workers may be hard to find (and retain). But until the economy shows more robust signs of improvement, I don't expect most employers to pull out all the stops on improving benefits.
Remember the concept of employee benefits?
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