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Pregnant employees of Southfield, Mich.-based accounting firm Plante & Moran count on support from co-workers who’ve been there.

HR pairs expectant moms with those who’ve recently had babies so they can ask questions and get support. The buddies also help new moms make a successful transition back to work.

Buddies meet on company time, go out for lunches and participate in relationship-building exercises, says HR Manager Kristen Cifolelli.

Most of the moms take four to six months off after a birth, says Cifolelli, who notes that a 20-year-old benefit allows anyone—dads, too—who is eligible for FMLA leave to take up to six months’ parental leave. Employees tap their paid leave before dipping into their short-term disability insurance.

About 125 of the firm’s 1,600 employees take some form of leave of absence every year, Cifolelli said.

The benefits boost retention. “We have a very high success rate of people coming back” after having babies, Cifolelli notes. “People appreciate that the firm cares about them spending time with their child.”

Contact: Kristen Cifolelli, HR Manager, at kristen.cifolelli@plantemoran.com.

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