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It's good to be a working mom in New Jersey

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Being a working mom is hard. These eight companies get it, and are trying to make it easier.
Being a working mom is hard. These eight companies get it, and are trying to make it easier. - (Thinkstock)

The working moms I talk to often joke that their work day starts when they leave the office. And it's true. Getting home to my son, Max, is the best part of my day — but I don't rest for a second until he drifts (and sometimes goes kicking and screaming) off to sleep. There are companies out there who get that, and according to "Working Mother" magazine, New Jersey is home to eight of them.

"Working Mother" magazine today unveiled its list of 100 best companies — a list that includes Bayer, Horizon Healthcare Services, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Rothstein Kass and Unilever. And Prudential Financial ranked among the top 10.

Companies had to apply to be considered for the list. That application included more than 550 questions that focused heavily on flexible work schedules, women's advancement programs and paid maternity leave.

Here's a snapshot of why these New Jersey companies earned a spot on the list (a for a full rundown on their family- and female-friendly work environments, check out the "Working Mother" article):

Bayer: The Hanover-based company scored high marks for its mentorship programs, recently increasing the number of peer-coaching groups available to female employees.

Horizon Healthcare Services: This Newark-based company made a big push to incorporate telecommuting, formalizing its work-from-home policy and training managers to deal with an occasionally off-site workforce.

Johnson & Johnson: The New Brunswick company is flush with family-friendly programs, including access to free consultations with experts to discuss issues such as education for kids with special needs.

Merck: This pharmaceutical giant, based in Whitehouse Station, had a whole list of plusses for working moms, including three to six weeks of paid vacation every year.

Prudential Financial: New moms at Prudential, based in Newark, can take up to 26 job-guaranteed weeks off, with nine partially paid.

Rothstein Kass: This public accounting firm in Roseland has a new nationwide backup dependent care program that costs $6 an hour for in-home care and $15 to $25 a day for care at local facilities. The program can be used up to 15 times per year.

Unilever: This company—which makes Hellman's mayonnaise, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Breyer's Ice Cream—has created a Women's Interactive Network, which offers professional development programs, as well as talks and panel discussions.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals: Novartis, which is headquartered in East Hanover, offers women a Global Executive Female Leadership Program and 10 weeks of paid maternity leave.

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