Department Seeks Nominations for Family-friendly Awards

Arkansas will observe its first Work and Family Month this October. To help celebrate the month, the state Department of Human Services is taking nominations for the second-annual Arkansas Governor's Family Friendly Employer Awards.

The awards, sponsored by Arkansas Business Publishing Group, which publishes Little Rock Family and arkansasbusiness.com, honor Arkansas employers for establishing and providing resources that support employees in balancing work and family. The awards were established last year to help promote family-friendly workplaces in the state.

"The family-friendly atmosphere found in most Arkansas companies is one of the things we sell when we're recruiting talented people to our state," Gov. Mike Huckabee said. "I'm impressed by the commitment Arkansas businesses have made to improving the quality of life for employees. Arkansas is a leader in establishing an initiative that supports the first national Work and Family Month this October."

Awards were given to 11 companies last year in three categories — large employers, medium employers and small employers. Winners included Baptist Health, Acxiom Corp., USAble Life and I.C.E. Inc.

To nominate a family-friendly company, visit www.arkansasbusiness.com/child. Nominations will be accepted through Oct. 17.

Employers who are nominated will be asked to provide information regarding issues such as health benefits, work-life options and child care assistance. If a company doesn't have formal work-life policies, informal ways of making a family-friendly work environment will be noted.

Last year's winners were recognized for a variety of family-friendly policies, including flexible work schedules to accommodate working parents, telecommuting from home, on-site daycares, tuition reimbursement and even casual dress codes.

"We believe the employee's work life is an extension of their home and family life," said James House, president and CEO of USAble Life Insurance, during last year's awards process. "By treating our employees with respect and being sensitive to their family responsibilities, our employees understand the company cares for them 24 hours a day rather than just while at the office."