With regard to current policies at Cognizant(from my sources) ,9hrs is mandated hours of work at office on daily terms and work from home is possible probably negotiated with Project Manager (max 1 day in a week, not very sure, no policy like that).
Work culture is better organized in product based companies in general with a few exceptions in service based.( Check other companies-Thoughtworks,Dell, GE, Salesforce)
But mainly in service based company, it depends on the client and project that we work with. Also the current stage the project is going through.
If she needs to take more personal time being single mother, my opinion she has to express her concern to HR at the interview and check the expectations with project she is going to be part of. If its a maintenance or enhancements based, could be ok. But if its agile or with other tight deadline based process model,work would be demanding.
And pros and cons working with cognizant, probably it holds value with regard to career growth and exposure. And may be its little better than its peers like Wipro,Infy,TCS.
Its been 2 years since i left cognizant but the company is very dear to my heart. I worked for application security assessments. I was fortunate to work in a team of supportive and knowledgeable people.
Pros: employee friendly policies, transport facility, support for higher studies and certifications, lots of resources available for knowledge upgradation, location transfer possible within INDIA as Cts has lots of branches all over india, good canteen facility. Good reward system
Cons: nothing comes to my mind. People who have been with the company for long Seem to be of good standard. If you get a good team of supportive people and projects of reasonable deadlines, you are lucky. Cts will make life enjoyable in such cases.
Personally i felt so much work stress in CTS so its one of the main reason i quit my job. But that depends on the projects, some projects provide work from home which is very rare. But as far as i know working environment is quite good.
Recognition of capability
Upbeat work environment
Cons: If you want to be in the delivery stream as a developer or a mid level manager, you will find it hard to balance work and private life. Cognizant like every other service company has aggressive delivery schedules and client specific spaces for work. Therefore, work from home is never an option.
Few of the top managers I initially worked with, although technically sound, had little experience with real people management. Sometimes, this lack of finesse leads to attrition. I have no experience with other Business Units.
Cognizant creates friendly and supportive environment for women during pregnancy and after delivery.
Health advice, phone support from doctors, expert diet advice and post partrum care.
Cognizant is an employee friendly company to work with.
Its not that supportive in terms of policies, moreover now its mandetory to stay 9 hours in office.
If you are working for long in cognizant and have a strong network and good relation with your superviser then only you can get few benefits. I would suggest not to join cognizant if you dont have strong support system from your family