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Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2008, 2007, 2006
Industry: Insurance
Location: Sheboygan, Wis.
2008 Rank: 37

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

ACUITY offers employees unlimited paid sick leave with a long-term disability plan that offers a 66 2/3 benefit after a nine-month elimination period. In addition, the company has not raised its health insurance premiums in seven years. Upon retirement, retirees receive a bonus of $100 per year of service. The average tenure of employees age 50+ is 14.1 years.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: ACUITY offers the following learning and development programs to full- and part-time employees working at least 16 hours a week: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and leadership and management training for senior-level employees. In the past 12 months, 85 percent of ACUITY employees participated in at least one of its training opportunities, with an average of 75 hours spent in training.

The company celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and bonus checks for years of service. Due to employee requests, many benefit improvements have been made, including the following: an annual holiday party for all employees and retirees, enhanced retirement programs and investment education efforts, free financial planning with a registered financial advisor, an on-site exercise facility, an on-site bank, free Weight Watchers classes, and enhanced disability insurance.

Employees gain new experience by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects. Workers also have access to a formal job-rotation program. Senior-level employees take advantage of the Leadership and Management Training program and special executive education.

Accommodations made for employees include providing proper chairs and workstations, sign-language interpreters for the hearing impaired, compressed work weeks and flextime schedules, wellness rooms at corporate headquarters for rest and relaxation if needed, and specially designed mothers’ rooms.

Benefits/Health: Full-time employees working at least 40 hours a week receive individual and family medical and prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, and short- and long-term disability. ACUITY offers  flexible-spending accounts to employees to assist with out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: ACUITY offers a 401(k) retirement savings plan with an employer match to both full- and part-time employees. Employees can choose from more than 35 investment options and are also offered a wide variety of investment-education opportunities. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) plan, employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions.

Employees receive financial planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers their 401(k) plan, and from external experts not associated with the 401(k) plan. The company offers employees paid time off especially designated for caregiving, short-term time off without pay, and long-term leaves of absence without pay for caregiving.

Full- and part-time employees are offered the following wellness programs: flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and exercise programs, weight-loss programs, stress management training, lunch-and-learn health and wellness programs, and massage therapy. Seventy-six percent of employees have used at least one of the company’s wellness benefits during the past 12 months. ACUITY offers dependent-care benefits, such as referral services to help employees with care for children and grandchildren and with eldercare, to its full- and part-time employees.

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