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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Brevard Public Schools

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Industry: Education - Pre-secondary
Location: Viera, Fla.
Website: www.brevard.k12.fl.us
2008 Rank: 13

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Brevard Public Schools has implemented various special accommodations for employees needing assistance, including offering amplified audio equipment and large-screen and large-print computer monitors, modifying a facility to allow for improved handicapped access, and supplying custom furniture for employees with physical handicaps. Forty-two percent of Brevard’s employees are age 50+.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Brevard Public Schools asks retired school principals to consult on hiring new teachers and on filling short-term positions.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Brevard Public Schools offers full- and part-time employees the following learning and development programs: in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. To enroll in the online training and certification classes, employees must work at least 20 hours per week. Full-time employees working 40 hours per week can also receive tuition reimbursement. During the past 12 months, 100 percent of Brevard’s employees have participated in at least one of its training opportunities, with an average of seven hours spent in training.

Brevard celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and on cross-functional teams to problem solve. Cross-training is encouraged.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 26 or more hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short- and long-term disability.

Health benefits for retirees under age 65 and for workers 65+ include the following: individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, individual and spousal vision and dental insurance, individual and spousal long-term care insurance, employee-assistance services, and individual and spousal life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of the benefits upon retirement. Brevard also offers employees flexible-spending accounts to help them cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: Brevard offers 403(b), defined-benefit, and money-purchase defined-contribution plans to its full- and part-time employees. Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers the 403(b), and from external financial planning experts.

Brevard offers short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence without pay to allow for caregiving. 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, and stress-management training. Sixty-nine percent of Brevard employees have used at least one of the school system’s wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

Brevard also extends referral services to assist with care for children and grandchildren, and for eldercare, to its full- and part-time employees.

Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Brevard offers the following alternative work arrangements to its full- and part-time employees: flextime, job sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program.

Flexible scheduling gives employees the opportunity of phasing in retirement. In addition, the Deferred Retirement Option Program offered by the state of Florida gives employees who are eligible to retire the option of entering the program for 60 months while continuing to work and earn their salaries. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

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