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Union Bank

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years:  2009
Industry:  Financial Services
Location:  San Francisco

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

This year, Union Bank is making its first appearance on AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. By offering employees a defined-benefit pension plan and a 401(k) plan, Union Bank is able to attract and retain employees. Union also gives its retirees under and above age 65 a number of health benefits. This encourages employee retention and helps mature workers and retirees to feel secure in their coverage. Thirty-two percent of Union Bank employees are ages 50+, with an average tenure of 14.4 years.    

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: Union Bank offers its employees a number of development opportunities, such as certification classes, tuition reimbursement, and in-house classroom training. In 2008, 70 percent of employees took part in at least one learning opportunity, with an average of 40 hours spent in training. Employees with long-service milestones are recognized with announcements and awards. In order to help employees enhance their professional experience, Union Bank offers them temporary assignments in other departments, work on team projects, a formal job-rotation program, and a formal exchange program with the company's offices in Japan.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 18 hours per week are eligible for individual and family medical, prescription-drug, dental, vision, and short- and long-term-disability coverage.

Retirees under and above age 65 are eligible for individual and spousal medical, prescription–drug, and dental coverage. Retirees age 65+ and new hires are also eligible for individual long-term-care insurance. In order to help employees with health-care costs, all staff is eligible to participate in a flexible spending account (FSA). This account allows employees to use pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket medical expenses.  

Benefits/Financial: Union Bank offers all employees working at least 18 hours per week a defined benefit pension plan and a 401(k) plan with an employer match. All employees can also invest in life-cycle funds, and those age 50+ are eligible to make catch-up contributions. The firm that administers the retirement plans provides financial-planning advice for Union Bank employees.

To accommodate employees with caregiving responsibilities, the bank offers unpaid short- and long-term leave to support employees with responsibilities for child care, grandchild care, and eldercare. Staff can also use the in-house referral services for child- and eldercare. Union Bank offers its full- and part-time employees health-risk appraisals and, if needed, telephonic health coaching.  In the past 12 months, 34 percent of employees took part in this wellness benefit. 

Benefits/Alternative-Work Arrangements: Union Bank offers the following alternative-work arrangements to employees: flextime, compressed work schedules, telecommuting, job sharing, and formal phased retirement. Full-time employees are able to transition to part-time work on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: Union Bank has 9,248 retirees, all of whom benefit from the efforts of a full-time employee who is responsible for maintaining retiree relations.  The bank stays connected with its retirees through continued communication in the form of a newsletter, continued access to retirement-planning information, invitations to organizational events, by formally acknowledging retirees on their anniversaries, and through regular contact with the Employee Retiree Association. Retirees can telecommute and work in part-time and contract roles.

Age of Workforce: Thirty-two percent of Union Bank employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 14.4 years.


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