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2013 AARP Best Employers

American University


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Industry: Education             Location: Washington, D.C.            Website:

Winning Years: 2013

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

American University’s full- and part-time employees participate in AhealthyU, the university’s Faculty & Staff Wellness Program. The program offers fitness activities such as yoga and Zumba, nutrition and weight loss education, healthy cooking classes, an on-site farmers market, as well as courses on managing stress and work life balance. A professional development course offered to employees, Generations in the Workplace, is an interactive instructor-led course that educates participants in generational differences.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Learning and development programs such as in-house classroom training, online training and certification classes are offered to all employees. Employees must work 28-plus hours per week to be eligible for tuition reimbursement and reimbursement for professional membership dues. In a recent 12-month period, 73 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of six hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, awards and gifts. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on team projects. Accommodations made for employees include adjusting work hours, providing job redesigns, facilitating access to work areas and special parking. Visually impaired employees are provided special magnification equipment and software as well as "trained readers" for reading assistance.

  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 28-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short-and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and those age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage, individual and spouse dental coverage, and individual and spouse long-term care insurance. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Full- and part-time employees are offered flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, as well as stress management training. Forty-one percent of American University employees utilized at least one of these wellness benefits during a recent 12-month period. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are available to full-time employees as well as their family members.

  • Benefits/Financial: American University employees are offered a 403(b) plan with employer match. All employees are automatically enrolled into the 403(b) plan, employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan, and plan participants may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Employees are offered financial education from external financial planning experts. Financial courses such as Ins and Outs of Personal Budgeting, Financial Planning 101, Cash and Debt Management, Investing, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning for Under Age 50, and Retirement Planning for Age 50-Plus are offered. Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to allow for caregiving. On-site child care and grandchild care is available for all employees.

  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Employees working 28-plus hours per week can participate in flextime and compressed work schedule arrangements. Employees working 35-plus hours per week can participate in a formal phased retirement program. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

  • Opportunities for Retirees: American University has 293 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The university stays connected with its retirees by communicating on a regular basis, inviting retirees to organization events, and by providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information. American University’s AU Ready Hire is a special recruiting program that helps mature workers and retirees find full- and part-time as well as long-term temporary assignments. Temporary work assignments, and full- and part-time work are employment opportunities offered to retirees.

  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-three percent of American University employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 15.7 years.

Also of Interest: More AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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