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Hudson Physicians is a ‘Family Friendly Workplace’

Hudson Physicians is the newest Hudson business to be distinguished as a Family Friendly Workplace by United Way St. Croix Valley.

Being an employee of a Family Friendly Workplace offers employees just what it says — a place to work that understands that family comes first to employees and does all it can to support that while doing business.

Hudson Physicians is the most recent Hudson area business to participate in the program that is coordinated by United Way St. Croix Valley.

Lara Otsuka is the program specialist for the program and she assists businesses in becoming certified and at what level.

First in the process is explaining to employers why the family-friendly policies that are at the core of the program can be a good thing for a business. Otsuka notes that there is plenty of research to support that family-friendly policies not only assist the employee but also increase productivity, result in less absenteeism and help businesses retain their employees.

Additionally, with more people leaving the workforce in Wisconsin than entering it, Otsuka says family-friendly policies can make it possible for more people in a family to work, increasing that work pool.

There are several levels of certification available to businesses depending on their size and  number of employees. The type of business policies that qualify to make a workplace family-friendly include health care coverage, flexible work scheduling, job-sharing and a private area for nursing mothers.

Businesses pay an initial, one-time fee of $250 and an annual fee of $10 per full-time employee. Those fees are invested back into the United Way’s Success by 6 initiative that supports early childhood programs in St. Croix, Pierce and Polk counties.

Dr. Greg Young heard about the program at Rotary and brought the idea back to Michelle Sell, Hudson Physicians’ employee services director. It seemed like a good fit to her.

“We value our employees and think we provide a great place for them to work that is family friendly. We have flexible scheduling, a private room for nursing mothers, job-sharing, a health savings account and good health insurance. It just made sense to get the official designation so that our patients and the public, along with our employees, know that we are committed not just to them but their families,” said Sell.

Hudson Physicians employees agree. Kaitlin Warneke is a patient care coordinator. She says a family-friendly workplace means flexibility to her. “Knowing that if ever a family or medical emergency were to come up, Hudson Physicians would allow me to be away from work and still have the opportunity to either use our available PTO or pick up extra shifts to make up my time away.”

Co-worker Laura Hoyt, another patient care coordinator, said, “It means the opportunity to work and provide for my family but also the flexibility to always be there for them when they need me.”

Kendra Smith, a phlebotomist at the clinic, said that the certification “exemplifies to me that  Hudson Physicians is a positive and supportive environment that offers exceptional services and programs to both its employees and their families.”

Now that Hudson Physicians has been certified a Family Friendly Workplace it can use the program logo and media kit to promote their certification with their patients, the community and prospective employees. The United Way will promote it as such on their website, social media sites, newsletter, press releases and other promotional materials.

For more information about becoming a Family Friendly Workplace contact Lara Otsuka at

715-377-0203 ext. 107 or go online at www.unitedwaystcroix.org.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604
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