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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Dental Service of Massachusetts

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning year: 2008, 2004
Industry: Insurance
Location: Charlestown, Mass.
Website: www.dentaquest.com
2008 Rank: 38

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Nearly one-quarter of employees at the DentaQuest are age 50+. These mature employees enjoy such benefits as long-term care insurance and work/life balance options including telecommuting and flexible work schedules.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: DentaQuest partners with Operation A.B.L.E., an organization that promotes employment and training opportunities for mature workers.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Full- and part-time employees are offered the following learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. DentaQuest offers free computer classes and technical courses at local learning institutions. Employees must work at least 30 hours per week to be eligible for the tuition-reimbursement program and five hours per week for the remaining programs. During the past 12 months, 100 percent of DentaQuest employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of two hours spent in training.

DentaQuest celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards.

Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects.

All new employees are provided with full ergonomic assessments, and reasonable accommodations are implemented. For example, an employee suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome received a new mouse and armrest; an employee with a visual impairment received a larger computer monitor; and an employee requiring a reduced work schedule because of a medical condition moved to a part-time position.

Benefits/Health: Employees working at least 20 hours a week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, individual and family vision insurance, and individual dental insurance. Individual and family dental insurance is offered to employees working at least 15 hours a week. Individual and family long-term care insurance is offered to all employees regardless of weekly hours worked, and short- and long-term disability is offered to employees working at least 30 hours per week. The company offers employees flexible-spending accounts to help cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: DentaQuest offers a 401(k) plan with an employer match and stock options to its full- and part-time employees. All new hires are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) plan. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees age 50+ can make catch-up contributions.

Employees receive financial-planning information from the financial-services firm that administers the 401(k) plan. DentaQuest also 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. Twenty-three percent of DentaQuest employees have used at least one of the wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

DentaQuest offers the following dependent-care benefits to its full- and part-time employees: on-site care for children and grandchildren and eldercare, referral services to assist with care for children and grandchildren and eldercare, and backup care for children and grandchildren and eldercare. In addition, the company offers a dependent-care flexible spending program. DentaQuest also established a long-term care benefit for employees and certain family members.

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