For staffers at New Editions, a company-paid ‘babymoon’

Company: New Editions Consulting.

Location: Falls Church.

Employees: 58.

After two decades of working in government consulting, Sheila Newman decided to strike out on her own.

Her company, Falls Church-based New Editions Consulting, aimed to foster something she felt was lacking in some of the male-dominated companies in the industry: A culture of work/life flexibility. Need to stay home with your kid during a snow day? Of course. Your turn to run the after-school carpool this week? No problem.

Newman even has begun offering her staffers an opportunity for a company-paid getaway as they approach one of life’s biggest milestones.

The “babymoon” is something like a honeymoon, allowing soon-to-be parents a chance to relax and unwind before their child arrives. New Editions staffers are allowed to spend up to $1,000 on a two-night trip for a babymoon. If the cost of accommodations alone doesn’t reach that limit, employees can use the rest of the money for food, a pre-natal massage or other goodies.

Program manager Anna Lenhart and her husband spent their babymoon weekend at The Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va.

“I feel like it went beyond just being supportive,” Lenhart said. “It’s nice to feel like your work family is also appreciating this milestone.”

The program began in 2008 when a vice president became pregnant.

“When my right-hand woman got pregnant, at first I started to panic and thought, ‘Oh no, how do I do this without her?’” Newman said.

But, Newman said, her thoughts quickly pivoted to coming up with a way to show her support. Recalling a relaxing trip she and her husband had taken in 1984 before her first child was born, Newman soon hatched the idea for a company-paid getaway.

Newman began offering the same gesture to each employee who became pregnant. And while none of the men on staff have taken her up on it yet, she said it’s also available to them if their partners are expecting.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economics news.
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