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CAREERS: A CLOSER LOOK AT 'DREAM JOBS'

Getting Personal for Professional Reasons

March 27, 2000|KIRSTIN DOWNEY GRIMSLEY | WASHINGTON POST

The array of services being proffered to employees has expanded to cover the entire life cycle:

Babies:

Lactation programs, which offer breast-feeding information and facilities for new mothers to express milk to carry home to their infants, are now available at 6% of large firms, according to a report last year by the Society of Human Resource Management. The Acacia Group, an insurance firm, and Calvert Group, a mutual-fund manager, both based in Washington, offer quiet rooms with breast-pumping equipment for nursing mothers. Cigna Corp., a Philadelphia-based health-care and insurance firm, now offers breast-feeding programs at more than 200 work sites nationwide.

Marriage:

Workers at America Online Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Charles Schwab Corp. and Excite@Home can turn to LesConcierge, a San Francisco-based company, for assistance with all kinds of errands, including arrangements for wedding celebrations and honeymoons.

Legal crises:

Houston-based Legal Access Plans Inc. provides workers with on-call lawyers, charging employers up to $2.75 per worker per month for the service. Most of the calls from workers involve domestic disputes, such as divorce, child custody and support cases, and prenuptial agreements. The only exclusion, according to Robert L. Heston Jr., the firm's president: The firm will not provide workers with advice they might use to sue their employers.

Teenagers:

KOLA, a new Internet-based business, guides children to family-friendly Web sites and screens entry to specially created chat rooms that will be monitored for inappropriate conversations or improper contact by adults. It's a new service and is now being tested by employees at Macromedia Inc., a tech firm, and retailer Restoration Hardware Inc.

Paying bills:

Hewlett-Packard Co. and its subsidiaries are offering about 120,000 employees access to service by PayMyBills.com and initially picking up the expense, said Nina Smith, director of client development at PayMyBills.com.

Discount shopping:

Employers are negotiating with e-commerce companies to give their employees discount prices on goods and services they buy online. RewardsPlus, for example, whose clients include Aramark Corp., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fujitsu America Inc., Mirage Resorts Inc. and Sylvan Learning Systems Inc., offers workers cut-rate prices on home and auto insurance and pet-sitting and veterinarian services. Perksatwork.com lets workers buy books and other merchandise at reduced prices.

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