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Consumers Energy Recognized by Forbes Magazine as Best Employer for Women in Utility Sector

JACKSON, Mich., September 1, 2020 – Consumers Energy has been named the best employer for women in the utility sector and tied for third best employer in Michigan according to a new ranking from Forbes magazine of the best places in America for women to work. As a company committed to leading the way in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Michigan and the utility sector, Consumers Energy also announced a change to their parental leave policy, allowing birthing mothers six months (24 weeks) paid leave, and a four month (16 weeks) paid leave to a nonbirthing parent.

The new leave time can be used for adoption and foster care placements and be taken over a 12-month period. The company is also extending 40 hours of paid medical leave to non-represented, exempt employees, an expansion of a state requirement. The new parental leave policy is included in the 2020 contract negotiated with the company’s largest union, the Michigan State Utility Workers Council, which is subject to ratification by covered members over the coming weeks.

“Consumers Energy always talked the talk when it came to creating a culture and policies aimed to attract and retain talent in our company, but with the world-class change in our parental leave policy, we are walking the walk as well,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s President and CEO. “Despite the latest ranking from Forbes, we are not satisfied and will continue to work hard to do more such as increasing diversity and women in traditionally male-dominated fields and  in the lineworker and gas boot camp programs.”

Consumers Energy ranked number one in the utility sector, tied for third in the state and was 144th overall in Forbes’s third annual ranking of the best employers for women. Forbes collaborated with market research firm Statista, surveying 75,000 Americans, including 45,000 women, working for businesses that employ more than 1,000 workers. The respondents spanned 31 industries and were asked to share their opinion on a series of statements about their respective employer’s culture, opportunities for career development, image, working conditions, salary and wages and diversity.

"As a working mother of three children seven years old and under, and having experienced the joy and challenges of maternity leave, I have advocated for the new parental leave policy in my role as the Executive Sponsor of our Women’s Advisory Panel employee resource group,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of Customer Experience. “This is a no regrets move to ensure all new parents - regardless of how they build their family - will be afforded ample time to grow, bond, and adjust to their new normal.”

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.