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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Massachusetts General Hospital

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2008, 2007, 2006
Industry: Hospitals/Health care
Location: Boston, Mass.
2008 Rank: 21

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Massachusetts General Hospital provides numerous accommodations to assist employees with special needs, including flexible scheduling, job redesign, changes in the physical setup of the work area, occupational therapy evaluation and assistance, and the use of assistive devices. The average tenure of employees age 50+ is 15 years.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Massachusetts General uses placement agencies for older job-seekers to target mature workers and retirees. The hospital also works with Operation A.B.L.E., an organization that provides employment and training to mature workers age 45+. In addition, the hospital advertises on

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Massachusetts General offers the following learning and development programs to full- and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. It offers tuition reimbursement exclusively to employees working at least 20 hours per week. During the past 12 months, 100 percent of Massachusetts General employees participated in at least one of its training opportunities, with an average of 20 hours spent in training.

Managers refine their skills in the hospital’s Leadership Academy. Massachusetts General celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards. Employees gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects. Workers also have access to a formal job-rotation program.

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 and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short- and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees under age 65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage and individual and spousal long-term care insurance.

Retirees 65+ also receive the services of an employee-assistance plan. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement. Retirees under age 65 with medical coverage receive a hearing-aid benefit at no additional cost. Massachusetts General also offers flexible-spending accounts to employees to help them with out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: Massachusetts General offers a 403(b) retirement savings plan, a money-purchase defined-contribution plan, and a cash-balance plan to its full- and part-time employees. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions to the 403(b) plan. Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers their 403(b) plan, and from external experts not associated with the 403(b) plan.

Employees can receive 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 club discounts, physical activity and exercise programs, weight loss programs, stress-management training, domestic violence training, substance abuse seminars, lactation support, eldercare discussions, grief and bereavement support, and financial counseling. Nearly 100 percent of Massachusetts General employees have used at least one of the hospital’s wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

The following dependent-care benefits are offered to full- and part-time employees: on-site care for children and grandchildren and onsite eldercare, backup care for children and grandchildren, and referral services to help employees find care for children, grandchildren, and elders.

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