The HR department at Apple Inc. just offered employees another healthy bite of the corporate fruit.

In a memo to employees, Denise Young Smith, Apple's head of human resources, outlined several powerful enhancements to Apple's benefits package. Among them:

  • Extended maternity leave for moms and other parental units related to the baby;
  • Educational reimbursement for any courses employees take related to their job;
  • Student loan refinancing program designed to "ease the burden" of loans;
  • Generous matching program for employee volunteerism.

Young Smith has been running the HR function at Apple since February, and has been making her mark. The latest plan enrichment was cleverly "leaked," with the emailed memo going straight to the computer of a Fortune Magazine reporter to ensure widespread publicity around the announcement.

"We know how hard all of you are working: from the teams designing, producing, launching, and supporting our incredible products to the thousands of retail employees sharing the excitement and experience face to face with our customers every day," she said in the memo. "Because we want to make sure you get the support you need, we're excited to introduce significant changes to our global well-being programs for both part-time and full-time employees."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.