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2013 AARP Best Employers

Mercy Health System


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Industry: Hospitals/Health Care           Location: Janesville, Wis.        Website:

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

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Mercy Health System employees age 55-plus are eligible for "Senior Connection" membership. Benefits include ease of admission at any Mercy Health System facility, as well as the following free services: Medicare and health care claims assistance, prescription drug discount service, social and educational events, living will and power of attorney for health care, as well as notary service. Mercy’s "Work to Retire" program allows employees age 50-plus with five years of service the opportunity to work reduced, pool or work-at-home schedules, and employees age 55-plus with 15 years of service can work seasonally while maintaining full-year, part-time benefits. The Mercy Retiree Association offers numerous free benefits such as health screenings, lunch-and-learn programs, financial planning seminars and retirement planning education, elder care counseling, and special retiree discounts on Mercy services and retail products.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Mercy employees working 20-plus hours per week are eligible for tuition reimbursement and certification classes while all employees are eligible for reimbursement of professional membership dues, in-house classroom training and online training. Mercy offers an onsite baccalaureate (BSN) program with college-level classes on the Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center campus. In a recent 12-month period, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 66 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. Employees with 10 or more years of service are eligible for a special accelerated time off accrual system, licensure renewals are provided at no charge and health insurance is offered at a discounted rate. Employee opinion survey results led to the development and implementation of stress management and drug/alcohol education workshops, the $200 Stay Healthy insurance benefit, an enhanced Healthy You program/website, and free online health risk assessments. Employees can develop new skills by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects, and by participating in formal job rotation and mentoring programs. Mercy’s Occupational Therapy Department conducts over 280 workstation ergonomic evaluations annually and now offers electronic stethoscopes for those with hearing loss.
  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 20-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short-term disability. Employees working 36-plus hours per week qualify for long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage, individual and spouse dental coverage, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, and the services of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement for retirees age 65-plus. For retirees pre-65, new hires are eligible for the individual and spouse long-term care insurance benefit upon retirement. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Full- and part-time employees receive the following wellness benefits: flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, and stress management training. Ninety-four percent of Mercy employees participated in at least one of these wellness-related benefits over a recent 12-month period. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: Employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered a 403(b) plan with employer match, and a cash-balance or other hybrid plan. Employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan. Staff members and staff from the financial services firm that administers the 401(k) plan provide financial planning information and training to employees. Employees are offered paid time off that is specifically designated for caregiving, and the Mercy Donated Leave Sharing Plan lets employees donate time to coworkers in need of time off. Full- and part-time employees are offered dependent care benefits including on-site elder care, referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and elder care, as well as backup care for child care, grandchild care and elder care.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, compressed work schedules, telecommuting and a formal phased retirement program are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Job sharing is exclusively offered to full-time employees. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: Mercy has 171 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The health system stays connected with its retirees by communicating regularly, inviting retirees to organization events, providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees upon their retirement. The following work arrangements are offered to retirees: temporary work assignments, consulting/contract work, telecommuting, and full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-seven percent of Mercy employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 13.3 years.

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

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