The city's Insurance and Benefits Office has earned the 'New Mexico Family Friendly Business Award'

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FARMINGTON — An office within the city of Farmington's Human Resources Department was recently honored for demonstrating exceptional family friendly benefits and policies.

The city's Insurance and Benefits Office has earned the "New Mexico Family Friendly Business Award." The New Mexico Task Force on Work Life Balance, which promotes family friendly business practices at businesses, created the award to recognize businesses throughout the state with family friendly policies.

Farmington's Insurance and Benefits Office is staffed by Jamie Wagoner, a benefits and compensation manager, and assistant Courtney Gray. Wagoner traveled to Santa Fe last week and received a certificate on behalf of the city on the Senate floor.

"What sets us apart is that we offer employees a chance to work under a flexible schedule," Wagoner said. "They can choose to work four, 10-hour days or they can choose to come in earlier or later as needed."

Among other family friendly benefits, Wagoner said her department offers group health plans and a wellness program that includes access to health coaches and extended health screening.

"We also offer sick leave, in addition to vacation leave," she said. "That gives employees the chance to use that sick leave instead of having to use their vacation time. We want to give employees the ability to use time with their families. The city also offers paid life insurance for employees, and they have the option of getting supplemental life insurance."

Wagoner said the city's family friendly policies came about from repeated comments the HR office heard from employees about policies that would be beneficial.

"We looked at what would be a good work-life balance for them, and figured out what the employees really need," she said. "Our employees are important, and we want to be a great partner for them."

Tom Swenk, director of the city's Human Resources Department, said the city has long practiced family friendly policies.

"All of our management team from the mayor, council, city manager and on down recognizes how important it is for our team to have a healthy work-life balance, and we've always had that push," he said.

This year, 25 businesses throughout the state won the "New Mexico Family Friendly Business Award," said Giovanna Rossi, co-chair of the New Mexico Task Force on Work Life Balance and director of the Family Friendly New Mexico program, which oversees initiatives to encourage businesses to adopt family friendly policies.

Rossi said Farmington received a tier one, or top-level, award.

"To qualify for tier one, the business must meet at least one family-friendly policy in all four categories, which are paid leave, health support, work schedules and economic support," she said.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-436-0853. 

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