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2013 AARP Best Employers

Perkins Coie LLP

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Industry: Service Sector    Location: Seattle    Website: www.perkinscoie.com

Winning Years: 2013

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Perkins Coie LLP mature workers are encouraged to pursue employee training and development programs throughout their career. MindLeaders, a program designed to be useful for the mature employee, is an e-learning system that offers a complete suite of programs allowing individuals to work at their own pace. It utilizes outside experts to help employees with the creation of their own personal development plans, as well as mentors to guide in course selection. The learning system provides courses targeted to older workers, including "Communicating in the World of Social Media" and "Retirement Planning." The company does not have a mandatory retirement age and employees remain benefits-eligible as long as the individual works at least 18.75 hours per week.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Employees working 37-plus hours per week are eligible for tuition reimbursement, employees working 19-plus hours per week are eligible for reimbursement of professional membership dues, and all employees are eligible for in-house classroom training, online training and certification classes. In a recent 12-month period, 96 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 24 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. Based on feedback gained from Perkins Coie’s Benefits Preference Survey, Aflac supplemental insurance programs are now offered, and the dental plan was enhanced by offering orthodontia services and a larger annual maximum benefit. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects and by having access to formal mentoring programs. Examples of accommodations made for employees with hearing loss include providing special amplifying equipment for phones, and offering special training for coworkers of those with hearing impairment. For a blind employee, Braille lettering has been placed on doors and elevators, and special computer software was purchased that allows for reading and editing documents. Automatic door openers were installed for an employee with mobility challenges, and the local bus company was contacted to request a convenient pick-up location.

  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 19-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, and 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 coverage, as well as individual and spouse vision and dental insurance. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. The following wellness programs are offered to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, and stress management training. Thirty-six percent of Perkins Coie 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: Perkins Coie employees are offered a 401(k) plan with employer match, and a cash balance or other hybrid plan. All new hires and all employees are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) plan, employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan and employees may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on employee’s age or proximity to retirement. Employees receive financial planning information from staff members, from the staff of the financial services firm that administers their 401(k) plan, and from external financial planning experts. Perkins Coie provides ‘Retirement Ready’ financial planning presentations on topics such as Medicare and Social Security, and medical and retirement plan options. Paid time off as well as short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to employees to allow time off for caregiving.

  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, job sharing and telecommuting are alternative work arrangement options available to employees who work 19-plus hours per week, while employees working 37-plus hours per week can participate in compressed work schedules and 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: Perkins Coie has 42 retirees and stays connected with its retirees by inviting them to organization events, and by providing them with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information. The company also has an alumni network. Retirees are offered the following work opportunities: temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, telecommuting and part-time work.

  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-six percent of Perkins Coie 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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