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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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University of Pittsburgh

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Industry: Education – Post-Secondary
Location: Pittsburgh

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

This year, the University of Pittsburgh celebrates its first appearance on AARP's list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. The University of Pittsburgh shows its commitment to continuing education through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which provides test- and grade-free courses to students above age 55.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: All University of Pittsburgh employees are eligible for learning opportunities, such as tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. The university celebrates its employees' long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees can develop new skills by collaborating on team projects and by completing temporary job assignments in other departments. The University of Pittsburgh accommodates older workers by providing screen and phone amplifications and read-to-you screens.

Benefits/Health: Regardless of the number of hours they work weekly, employees and their families are eligible for medical, prescription-drug, vision, dental, long-term-care, and short- and long-term-disability coverage. The university offers retirees below and above age 65 individual and spousal medical, prescription-drug, vision, and dental insurance. Upon retirement, all new hires are eligible for retiree health benefits. To help employees defray out-of-pocket medical expenses, the University of Pittsburgh provides health flexible spending accounts (FSA).

Benefits/Financial: Financial benefits at the University of Pittsburgh include a defined-benefit plan and an employer-matched, defined-contribution plan. Additionally, the university offers employees a Roth 403(b) plan, which offers tax advantages.

To encourage participation in the 403(b) plan, the university offers employees the chance to invest in life-cycle funds or in the university's Accelerated Option. The Accelerated Option, which is especially designed for age-50+ workers, increases the employer match for a period of 10 years. Representatives of the financial services firm that administers the 403(b) plan and staff members give employees retirement-planning information.

Employees who are caregivers at home can take unpaid leaves of absence to attend to their caregiving duties. The University of Pittsburgh offers all employees wellness benefits, including flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, discounts to local health clubs, physical-activity programs, and weight-loss programs. Twenty-six percent of the university's employees participated in at least one of the company's wellness programs in 2008.

Full-time employees can choose on-site child care or referral services to help them locate day care for children, grandchildren, and elders. Part-time employees can also use the university's on-site child care and referral services for child care or grandchild care.

Benefits/Alternative-Work Arrangements: Alternative-work arrangements for full-time employees include flextime, compressed work schedules, job sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program. Part-time employees can opt for flextime, job sharing, and telecommuting.

Full-time employees at the university can move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: The University of Pittsburgh's 1,943 retirees benefit from the work of a staff member who is directly responsible for retiree relations. The university stays connected with its retirees through regular communications, by inviting retirees to events, by providing them ongoing access to retirement planning, by formally acknowledging employees when they retire, and by sending out a retiree newsletter. Temporary assignments are also available to retirees.  

Age of Workforce: Thirty-four percent of University of Pittsburgh employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 15 years. … Back to Article

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