NEW YORK (AP) _ Patagonia Inc., the designer and distributor of outdoor wear, offers new fathers in its employ eight weeks paid paternity leave.

International Business Machines Corp. recently set aside $50 million to help employees meet child and elder care needs.

For those and other workplace initiatives, both companies earned spots in Working Mother magazine's 10th annual roster of the country's 100 best companies for working moms.

The list, in the magazine's October issue, was to be unveiled Monday.

``Our company believes its people drive its success,'' said Erika Moyer family and work manager at Newark, Del.-based MBNA America Bank, a leading credit card lender. ``For us, satisfied people mean satisfied customers.''

Although for four years MBNA has been included among the top 100, new on-site child care centers, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs helped vault the company into this year's top 10.

Several of the country's largest companies were on the list, including Xerox Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., but small firms also rated a mention.

Hanna Andersson Corp., which sells family clothing by mail from Portland, Ore. was cited, as was G.T. Water Products, a Moorpark, Calif., plumbing products manufacturer with 27 employees. That company has an on-site school paid for by George Tash, the company's owner and president.

Tom's of Maine, Inc. was cited for the flexibility it grants working parents and subsidies given employees for child care. Frontier Cooperative Herbs of Norway, Iowa was included for its on-site child care center that costs employees only $1 per hour.

Child care wasn't the sole focus of the survey. Working Mother also looked at how women were paid and how quickly they were promoted.

One company cited, Hoechst Celanese Corp. the Somerville, N.J., maker of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, was lauded for its specific goals for advancing women. Managers receive rewards at bonus time for helping the company reach its targets.

Consequently, although the overall employee population has fallen in recent years, the numbers of women in all areas of the business have grown, said Clyde Jones, director of equality and work life initiatives.

IBM chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., meanwhile, was named Working Mother's fourth annual ``Family Champion'' _ a company leader who has taken personal responsibility for improving workplace policies.

``When Gerstner came to IBM it was hemorrhaging and he had to take tough action, but he understood the need for work-family programs,'' said Ted Childs, director of workforce diversity. ``He believes ... that he is investing not just in today's workforce but in tomorrow's workforce.''

But perhaps most striking, is that in the decade since Working Mother began compiling the list it has closely tracked women's gains in the workplace, said Betty Holcomb, deputy editor of the magazine.

``The long term changes essentially swept us away,'' she said. ``When you look at the workplace 10 years ago and compare it to now, there has been a revolution in the types of workplace offerings.''

When Working Mother debuted the list in 1986 only 30 companies were worthy of recognition and the benefits paled in comparison to those offered today.

Before- and after-school care, holiday day care and sick-child care were merely unmet needs and flexible work schedules such as job sharing and telecommuting were still mostly absent from U.S. companies.

Today, such benefits are standard among the Working Mother 100 companies, Holcomb said. Seventy-six companies now offer child care on-site or at a nearby center, 26 reward managers for advancing women and nearly one-fifth have set up special dependent care funds earmarked for child and elder care programs for their employees.

Still, also noteworthy, Holcomb said, is that companies with the best workplace policies tend to concentrate in industries where competition for workers is fiercest. Those include pharmaceuticals, chemicals, technology, banking and insurance, she said.

``Often companies in those industries had to implement the policies to attract talent,'' Holcomb said.

Working Mother chooses the companies based on pay, opportunities for women to advance, child care and family-friendly benefits such as part-time jobs with benefits, job sharing and flexible hours.