Family Values Family Values

Family Values

A battle raged in Trenton in early 2008 over paid family leave. How does that affect you? Well, as you begin to think about your career and entering the job market, you will want to understand what paid family leave is all about. And without even knowing it, you are having a major impact on the amount of time people can take off work and still get paid. It has to do with the new realities of the workplace and the conditions that young employees crave in order to be the most effective at their jobs.

The paid family leave bill, as it was first crafted, would give public and private workers in New Jersey 10 weeks of paid leave to care for newborns, adopted children or sick members of their immediate family. Workers would get two-thirds pay, up to $488 per week. Currently, employers are required to allow 12 weeks of leave, but it is unpaid and companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

Companies are, of course, angry about the prospect of having to pay employees for time off. But this is great news for a generation of workers (you!) who really value family. People in your age group-born between 1980 and 2000-have been dubbed the "Millennial Generation." No. 1 on your priority list, according to Claire Raines, author of the book Connecting Generations, is a focus on children and family. That focus is forcing businesses to change certain aspects of the job in order to keep their employees happy and performing the best that they possibly can.

The paid family leave issue is an important reminder that jobseekers need to look beyond the paycheck. Let's face it, when you're looking for a job or launching a new career, salary tops the priority list. It's important to realize, however, that you should be taking other benefits and lifestyle issues into account as you contemplate a career-related job offer.You may be surprised to discover that money isn't everything-it's just part of the pay packet. According to the job-search site Quintissential Careers, benefits can add up to 30% to your total compensation! So brush up on your paid family leave knowledge and check the following list twice before you sign that new job contract. Other job factors to consider:

  • Reputation of the company
  • Corporate culture
  • The work itself (in terms of interest, challenge, etc.)
  • Timeframe for advancement
  • Quality of community (life, schools, etc.)
  • Relocation expenses
  • Dependent care
  • Overtime/Comp. Time policies
  • Professional memberships
  • Health club/country club memberships
  • Bonus/Raise policies
  • Vacation time
  • Paid holidays
  • Sick/Personal days
  • Work hours, including flex-time
  • Telecommuting options
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Profit sharing
  • Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Parking, commuting, expense reimbursement