10 Best Employers For Workers Over 50

Best Employers for Workers over 50Washington, D.C. -- Scripps Health, a major hospital and health care provider in Southern California, has been recognized as the top company in the 2011 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program. This year, Scripps has succeeded Cornell University, which placed second, as 2011's No. 1 finisher in the decade-long program.

Cornell joins other perennial top employers, National Institutes of Health (NIH) (No. 3) and First Horizon National Corporation of Memphis (No. 4), along with newcomer West Virginia University as fifth among the 50 honorees named today by AARP. The program completed its 10th awards designation since the 2001 launch.

"Scripps Health, Cornell and other employers on the list consistently recognize the value of, and have demonstrated exemplary policies for older workers," said Jean Setzfand, AARP's vice president for Financial Security, in announcing the winners. "These companies and institutions deserve to be honored after their years of progressive practices that both meet the needs of mature workers and benefit their organizations as well."

Scripps Health, with five hospital campuses and nearly two dozen clinics and coastal medical center sites, has been honored by AARP seven times over the last decade. In addition to an array of alternative work arrangements such as flex-time, a phased retirement program, and a formal job rotation program, Scripps has a strong wellness program and generous health benefits for retirees under and over age 65.

In addition, the health system has designed a program that assists employees from age 50 to 70 as they move toward retirement. At the same time, Scripps maintains an ongoing relationship with retirees to facilitate their return when temporary job opportunities develop.

Cornell University, a six-time honoree by AARP, has a multi-pronged "Encore Cornell" program, which provides retirees with workforce opportunities in addition to enrichment activities and resources. "Encore Hire" and "Encore Volunteer" connect retirees with temporary employment and volunteer opportunities at the University and in the community. "Encore and More" provides retirees with information on resources, classes and events to support personal growth.

Finishing third, the NIH offers broad health benefits and emphasizes financial education with pre-retirement classes and formal courses as part of a program that helps employees manage their finances at each stage in their careers. NIH participates in jobs fairs to seek out mature workers for openings.

"AARP is encouraged by these companies that have set a positive example and capitalized on the experience of working with older workers, especially given the difficult economy that has impacted employers and employees alike," said Setzfand.

Any U.S.-based employer with at least 50 employees is eligible to apply for the Best Employers award. Candidates are vetted to ensure that practices meet the needs of mature workers. Key areas of consideration include: recruiting practices; opportunities for training, education and career development; workplace accommodations; alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling; job sharing and phased retirement; employee health and retirement benefits; and retiree work opportunities.

The top 10 Best Employers this year will be profiled in the November issue of AARP The Magazine. Accompanying that salute will be a feature article by Chris Gardner advising older job seekers and other workers on what they need to do to stay competitive in today's difficult job market. Gardner, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, is the author of "The Pursuit of Happyness" and is AARP's Ambassador of Pursuit and Happyness.

The 50 winners -- as well as 15 AARP International Best Employers -- will be honored at a dinner Sept. 13 in Chicago.

10 Best Employers For Workers Over 50

10. The Aerospace Corporation

Rehiring retirees has been a successful, long-standing program at the Aerospace Corporation. Retirees in the Retiree Casual Pool Program can work up to 999 hours per year, typically at the same salary before being in the program, and continue to receive pension benefits. Sixty-one percent of the Aerospace Corporation employees are age 50 and over.

-- See full profile for The Aerospace Corporation

9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System

Bon Secours Richmond Health System's Employee Wellness Services offer a unique incentive program that rewards employees for a healthy lifestyle. The Good Life "Well for Life" Incentive Program is designed to encourage employees to reduce individual health risks and live healthier, more productive lifestyles. Employees can earn up to $300 or 12 hours of paid time off by participating in the program.

-- See full profile for Bon Secours Richmond Health System

8. Mercy Health System

The Mercy Retiree Association offers retirees financial planning seminars and health screenings as well as other health-related programs, volunteer opportunities, social programming, mentoring opportunities and discounts on Mercy services. It is also a resource for recruitment.

-- See full profile for Mercy Health System

7. Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System's 1000 Hour Club is specifically for employees age 50 and over and gives retirees the opportunity to work part-time jobs, per diem jobs and temporary assignments, including consulting, contract work and telecommuting. 1000 Hour Club retirees can return to work as early as three months after they begin receiving retirement benefits and can work up to 999 hours each year while continuing to collect their retirement benefits.

-- See full profile for Atlantic Health System

6. The YMCA of Greater Rochester

The YMCA of Greater Rochester has a full-time retiree liaison who manages all employee support and relations activities, including special social events. The organization also maintains a roster of outside retirees available for work, and calls on them for temporary assignments, consulting projects, telecommuting opportunities, full and part-time work, and volunteer or donor fundraising activities.

-- See full profile for The YMCA of Greater Rochester

5. West Virginia University

Forty-five percent of West Virginia University (WVU) employees are age 50 or more, with their average tenure being 19 years. Due to employee requests for obtaining more information on retirement, the number of workshops offered per year on "Benefits of Your Benefits" and "Retiring from WVU" have been increased, a retirement page has been added to the human resources and benefits website containing up-to-date information regarding retirement benefits at WVU, and a Roth 403(b) retirement savings account was implemented.

-- See full profile for West Virginia University

4. First Horizon National Corporation

First Horizon National Corporation's Retiree Relationship Manager provides employees with pre-retirement counseling, coordinates benefits enrollment, and assists with all inquiries regarding retirement benefits and resources. The Retire Ready Solutions Group is an additional benefit for mature workers and assists employees and retirees with making informed decisions on retirement. The company also provides retiree luncheons and annual flu shots.

-- See full profile for First Horizon National Corporation

3. National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH) financially educates its employees with the NIH Training Center, the NIH Credit Union and the NIH Benefits Office, which host quarterly financial seminars offering guidance on estate planning, strategic college funding, Thrift Savings Plan investing, Social Security, and investing and fraud avoidance tips. These seminars also allow employees to get answers to their specific retirement-related questions.

-- See full profile for National Institutes of Health

2. Cornell University

The Encore Cornell Program has four components: Encore Hire, which connects retirees with temporary employment opportunities within Cornell and the community; Encore Volunteer, which connects retirees with volunteer opportunities within Cornell and their local community; Encore On-Call, which provides retirees the opportunity to share their expertise with members of the Cornell community on a short-term basis; and Encore and More, which provides retirees with information on resources, classes and events to support personal growth and development.

-- See full profile for Cornell University

1. Scripps Health

"The Guide to Mapping Retirement" is a printed and electronic toolkit that Scripps designed specifically for their mature workers. This toolkit takes employees on a journey to retirement with stops along the way from age 50 to 70 and assists employees in understanding what they can do to maximize their retirement.

-- See full profile for Scripps Health

For a full list and for more information on the 2011 Best Employers, please go to www.aarp.org/work/employee-benefits/best_employers.

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