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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Cornell University

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

The university’s wellness programs include flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, health-club discounts, physical-activity programs, weight-loss programs, stress-management programs, life coaching, and support groups for employees with specified health conditions. Thirty-two percent of Cornell employees have used at least one of these wellness benefits in the previous year.

Dependent care benefits for employees include on-site care for children or grandchildren and referral services to assist with care for children or grandchildren and eldercare. Cornell offers dependent-care accounts for employees to set aside pre-tax income for child care and eldercare.

Benefits/Alternative-Work Arrangements: Cornell offers many alternative-work arrangements, including flextime, compressed-work schedules, job-sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program. Cornell's "Phased-Retirement Program for Contract College and Endowed Faculty" permits employees to take an incremental transition into retirement, over a maximum of five years. Other staff also can take phased retirement over a maximum of three years. Full-time employees may move to part-time work on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: Cornell currently has 3,850 retirees, and an employee directly responsible for maintaining retiree relations keeps in touch with them. Retirees receive university communications, are invited to events, are offered ongoing retirement planning, and are formally acknowledged when they retire. Retirees have library privileges for life. They also enjoy social, recreational events and volunteer opportunities. Additionally, retirees may take advantage of temporary work assignments, full- and part-time work, consulting, and telecommuting. Cornell allows retirees to work at the university while receiving their retiree benefits.

Age of Workforce: Thirty-six percent of Cornell employees are age 50+. The average tenure for employees age 50+ is 17.7 years.

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