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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Cornell University

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers the university’s 403(b) plan and from external experts not associated with the 403(b) plan.

Cornell offers paid time off specifically designated for caregiving, short-term time off without pay, and long-term leaves of absence without pay, to allow for caregiving. The university offers up to six months of unpaid leave.

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 exercise programs, weight loss programs, stress management training, cooking classes, life coaching, and diabetes, cancer, and menopause support groups. Twenty-seven percent of Cornell’s employees have used at least one of its wellness benefits in the past 12 months.

Cornell offers on-site child and grandchild care, and referral services to assist with care for children, grandchildren, and elders, to its full- and part-time employees. In addition, the university offers the following programs to meet family care demands: a child care grant subsidy, dependent-care accounts for child care and eldercare costs, adoption assistance, summer camp programs, and a “bring your child to work” day.

Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Cornell has a number of alternative work arrangements to recruit and retain a broad range of employees, including older workers.

Full- and part-time employees have numerous options: flextime, compressed work schedules, job sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program. The phased-retirement program allows eligible full-time tenured faculty the option of reducing their teaching, research, and administrative duties prior to retirement, not to exceed five years. Other full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent and temporary basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: Cornell places a value on the experience and skills of its retirees. The university currently has 3,810 retirees and an employee directly responsible for retiree relations. Cornell stays connected with its retirees by regular communications, inviting them to organization events and celebrations, providing ongoing access to retirement-planning workshops and information, and formally acknowledging retirees when they retire. It actively recruits retirees for temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, telecommuting, volunteering, and full- and part-time work.

Age of Workforce: Forty-three percent of Cornell’s employees are 50+. The average tenure of employees age 50+ is 15.5 years.

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