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2013 AARP Best Employers

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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Industry: Not for Profit         Location: Arlington, Va.     Website: www.nreca.coop

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2009, 2008

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Personal Investments Retirement Consulting Service offers employees and retirees free financial planning advice from certified professionals. This personalized program is designed to provide guidance and information on retirement planning, investment options, asset allocation, 401(k) pension plan descriptions, 401(k) pension statement review, IRA funding options, IRA withdrawal options and retirement plan distribution options.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Learning and development programs such as certification classes, in-house classroom training, online training, external professional training and conferences, and reimbursement of professional membership dues are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Tuition reimbursement is offered to full-time employees working 40 hours per week. In a recent 12-month period, 75 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 60 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, gifts and awards. Based on employee requests, NRECA has implemented the following new programs: added domestic partner coverage to medical, dental and vision plans; increased education assistance funding; increased reimbursement for commuter costs; offer discounted rates for long-term care insurance (paid by employee); and provided paid time off for volunteering. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and by having access to formal job rotation and mentoring programs. NRECA provides special computer software for employees with visual impairment.
  • Benefits/Health: NRECA 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, as well as short- and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 include individual and spouse medical, prescription drug, vision, and dental coverage; individual and spouse long-term care insurance; the services of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP); and individual life insurance or other death benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Retirees age 65-plus receive individual and spouse medical, prescription drug, vision, and dental coverage, and individual life insurance or other death benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Retirees are given an "allowance" (based on age and years of service) to assist in covering benefit premiums. 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 or counseling, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, CPR training, and stress management training. Sixty-one percent of NRECA employees 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: NRECA employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered a 401(k) and 403(b) plan with employer match and a defined-benefit 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 staff members and from staff of the financial services firm that administers their plan. Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay and paid time off are offered to allow for caregiving. Employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and elder care.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Alternative work arrangements such as compressed work schedules, telecommuting, flex time and a formal phased retirement program are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: NRECA has 188 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The association 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 on their retirement. Temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, telecommuting, as well as full- and part-time work are employment opportunities offered to retirees.
  • Age of Workforce: Forty-one percent of NRECA employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 13.9 years.

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

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