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Stride Rite's Benefits Mirror Its Commitment to Individual, Family and Community service Goals

July 1, 1993
Related Topics: Work/Life Balance, Featured Article, Benefits
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The Stride Rite Corp. offers employees benefits that help address some of their individual, family and community-service needs and aspirations. The benefits range from $2,000 scholarships to a volunteer program that allows employees to take time off with pay.

Internal Programs:

A Scholarship Program
In conjunction with the Two/Ten International Footwear Foundation, Stride Rite awards educational scholarships each year to two high-school seniors who are dependents of workers. Each scholarship can amount to $2,000 annually. The scholarships are renewable for four years each, or until the student graduates, whichever comes first.

A Child-care Resource Center
To assist all employees with child-care needs, Stride Rite works in partnership with the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), an organization that helps parents locate and screen licensed child-care programs in their areas. The company offers this service to its U.S. employees at no charge.

Tuition Assistance
After working at Stride Rite for at least three months, any employee is eligible to apply for tuition assistance. Employees receive 80% reimbursement for successfully completing preapproved courses with at least a C grade.

A Wellness Center
At its Cambridge headquarters, Stride Rite operates an employee wellness center, which the HR department oversees. The center offers employees evaluation-and-referral services in all aspects of health and wellness. Programs include: fitness, weight control, nutrition, cholesterol information, body composition analysis, blood-pressure screening and stress management. There's a fitness facility on-site. The center charges a nominal fee for some services.

Family Leave
Employees may take as much as eight weeks of paid family leave and as much as 18 weeks of additional unpaid leave after the initial eight weeks. During the leave, an employee's job is protected and all benefits continue. The leave may be used by adoptive parents as well as birth parents, or by employees needing to care for an ill family member. This policy has been in place since 1988.

An Employee Stock-purchase Plan
Enrollment eligibility in Stride Rite's employee stock-purchase plan depends on the date of hire. Withholding is handled through payroll deduction. The cost of each share is 85% of the market value of the stock at the beginning of the cycle or 85% of the market-value price at the end of the cycle (if that price is lower, but not below the minimum price set by the board of directors).

Life Insurance
Stride Rite pays the entire cost of its basic life-insurance plan and accidental-death-and-dismemberment benefit. Full-time employees are eligible to obtain coverage after working for the company for at least 30 days.

Retirement and Capital-accumulation Plans
Stride Rite offers its employees two retirement plans—the retirement-in-come plan and the employee-savings-and-investment plan or a 401(k).

Stride Rite automatically enrolls full-time employees in the retirement-income plan and pays for the entire cost of it. Employees may enroll in the savings-and-investment plan after completing one year of service and participate through pretax payroll deductions.

Internal/External Programs:

A Matching-gifts Program
Stride Rite encourages its employees to contribute to charitable organizations. The Stride Rite Charitable Foundation matches employee gifts to government, education, health and social-services programs dollar-for-dollar. The employee contribution to an eligible organization must be at least $25. Matching funds can't exceed $2,000 per fiscal year per employee.

An Employee-volunteer Program
To encourage employee involvement in public service, Stride Rite initiated the employee-volunteer program in 1991. The program allows employees to volunteer two hours a week during their work time at one of two Cambridge, Massachusetts, public schools. Stride Rite matches volunteers with students in the school system's Follow Through Magnet Program for one-on-one activities. These activities are designed to provide students with personal attention, academic support, and, where appropriate, career awareness. All participating employees receive training and full pay for the time they spend working as volunteers. Employee participation is subject to the approval of direct supervisors.

Child-and Elder-care Services
At its headquarters facility, Stride Rite offers employees and community members the opportunity to place their young children or elderly dependents in day care at The Stride Rite Intergenerational Center. The company also maintains a child-care center at its Boston-based distribution center for its employees and community members.

Personnel Journal, July 1993, Vol. 72, No.7, p. 55.

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