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2013 AARP Best Employers

Veterans Health Administration

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Industry: Government       Location: Washington, D.C.   Website: www.vacareers.va.gov

Winning Years: 2013, 2009

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

In response to employee requests, Veterans Health Administration expanded its workplace flexibility program by allowing more employees the option of teleworking, working flexible schedules and working from remote locations.

Additional Policies and Practices

  •  Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Veterans Health Administration employees are eligible for tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and attendance at professional conferences and research presentations. During a recent 12-month period, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 40 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. 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. The Veterans Health Administration offers disability accommodation equipment such as specialized computer software and hardware, sign language interpreters and ergonomic furniture.
  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 10-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. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage, individual and spouse vision and dental coverage, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, 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) and health reimbursement accounts (HRSs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Wellness benefits offered to full- and part-time employees include flu shots, health screenings, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, and stress management training. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: Full- and part-time employees are offered a 401(k) plan with employer match and a defined-benefit plan. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the plan, employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan and may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Staff members and external financial planning experts provide employees with financial education and information. On-site financial planning and retirement planning sessions are offered. Employees are offered short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay for caregiving needs. Full- and part-time employees are offered dependent care benefits such as on-site child care and grandchild care, and referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and eldercare.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, compressed work schedules, telecommuting and a formal phased retirement program are alternative work arrangements offered to all employees. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: Veterans Health Administration stays connected with its retirees by communicating on a regular basis, 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 or contract work, telecommuting, as well as full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Sixty-one percent of Veterans Health Administration employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 15.8 years.

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

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