Get Certified

Certification Standards and Process

Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Ready.

A Family Forward NC Employer Certification designates employers that offer policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children.

To achieve certification, we require that an employer: 

  • has a minimum of five employees located in NC working at least 30 hours per week
  • offers a family-friendly workplace; we look at the following policy and practice categories:
    • paid leave and wages,
    • accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding workers,
    • child care supports,
    • health and wellness benefits,
    • and scheduling practices.
  • allows 100% of non-seasonal employees working at least 30 hours per week to be eligible for benefits (seasonal employee as defined by NC General Statute 96-16.a)
  • has written policies available to all employees
  • pays a non-refundable application fee of $50 and the certification fee listed below

Certification applications are reviewed based upon best-practice policies, as defined by:

  • the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success and Action Frameworks;
  • guidance from medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;
  • and guidance from our partners in early childhood organizations, including the Child Care Services Association, MomsRising, the North Carolina Breastfeeding Association, and more.

Employers will be certified in one of three categories, depending on whether they meet the minimum standards for certification; the majority of standards for certification; or all or nearly all standards for certification.

What You Receive

As a certified employer, you will receive:

  • access to use of the Family Forward NC Certified Employer logo and communications materials, including a badge for your website or to create a window cling for your physical place of business, social media content for sharing, a template press release, a sample blog post for employees, and
  • access to exclusive resources and programs for certified employers to help you continue your journey toward becoming even more Family Forward.

Size Categories and Fees

We vary our fees by the total number of employees in your organization (full and part-time employees physically working in the U.S.). Our four size categories are:

  • 5 to 49 employees: $200
  • 50 to 99 employees: $450
  • 100 to 499 employees: $750
  • and 500 employees or more: $1,500

There is also a nonrefundable application fee of $50 to apply. Your certification is good for two years. 

Application Process

  • 1

    Step 1: Apply Online

    The first step is to fill out our online eligibility check. If eligible, you'll be directed to complete the full application, which helps us determine if your policies meet our certification requirement thresholds. Click here for FAQ

  • 2

    Step 2: We Verify Your Policies

    To verify your application, we will review your written policies and contact your HR leader (or the staff member in charge of HR) with any follow-up questions. We’ll also ask you to share a short anonymous survey (available in English or Spanish) with employees that asks about the policies and your company culture.

  • 3

    Step 3: We Welcome You to Our List

    Congratulations! Once we’ve verified that your policies align with your application and employee responses, and our requirements, you’ll be granted a certification. Certification will be good for two years from the date we notify you.