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2013 AARP Best Employers

Bon Secours Virginia


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Industry: Hospitals/Health Care            Location: Richmond, Va.         Website:

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Bon Secours Virginia employees receive a significant credit on their medical premiums for completing a personal health assessment and an online wellness screening. Employees working 32-plus hours per week can take part in the organization’s formal phased retirement program. The program allows the employee to retire from Bon Secours and then get rehired without losing any retirement funds. Those ages 65-69 maintain pension benefits provided they are not working more than 24 hours per week. Employees working past age 70½ receive their pension, with no limits to hours worked.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Recruiting: Bon Secours uses senior placement agencies and hosts senior employment events to target mature workers and retirees.
  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Employees working 16-plus hours per week benefit from the tuition reimbursement program, are reimbursed for professional membership dues and can attend the ‘School at Work’ program, which is a 22-week program with the goal of improving basic skills as well as skills specific to health care. In addition, full- and part-time employees are offered online training, certification classes and in-house classroom training. In a recent 12-month period, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 50 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. Bon Secours has made numerous improvements in benefits and policies because of employee requests, including increasing its minimum wage to over 26 percent higher than legal requirements, and offering college scholarships to employee’s children and grandchildren. In addition, Bon Secours integrated numerous human resource and work-life benefits to both of its markets including offering additional child care and dependent care services, home-buying assistance, wellness programs and local merchant discounts. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects and by participating in formal job rotation and mentoring programs. Bon Secours allows employees to work part time at home and part time in the office because of medical limitations. Job reassignments are offered for employees who require less-demanding roles, and larger computer equipment and software are provided for employees with sight limitations.
  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 16-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, as well as individual and family vision and dental insurance. Employees working 32-plus hours per week are eligible for 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 vision and dental coverage, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services, as well as individual and spouse life insurance or other death benefit coverage. 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, and stress management training. Ninety-eight percent of Bon Secours employees have utilized at least one of these wellness benefits during a recent 12-month period. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: All employees are eligible for a 403(b) plan, and employees working 16-plus hours per week are offered a defined-benefit plan. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement, and those age 50-plus are able to make ‘catch-up’ contributions. Financial information is offered to staff members from the financial services firm that administers the savings plans and from external financial planning experts. In addition, Bon Secours regularly offers Lifestyle Planning courses exclusively to its mature employees. The courses provide information on healthy lifestyles with aging, wills, advance directives, retirement plans, life after retirement, Medicare and phased retirement. Bon Secours offers an Economic Relief Program to its employees, which includes fuel relief, local merchant discounts, an employee crisis fund, holiday assistance, home-buying discounts and debt management classes. Employees age 62-plus receive discounts on tax preparation services. Provisions for caregiving include short-term and long-term leaves of absence without pay. Bon Secours offers the following dependent care benefits to its full- and part-time employees: on-site child care, grandchild care and elder care, referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and elder care, and backup care for child care, grandchild care and elder care.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, compressed work schedules, job sharing and telecommuting are offered to employees working 16-plus hours per week. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: Bon Secours has 2,800 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The health organization stays connected to its retirees by communicating regularly, providing ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging retirees upon retirement. Retirees are offered the following work opportunities: temporary work assignments, consulting and contract work, and telecommuting, as well as full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-seven percent of Bon Secours employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 12 years.

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

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