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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2006, 2005, 2003
Industry: Education - Secondary
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
2008 Rank: 14

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Managing Across Generations” course communicates the benefits and challenges of different generations to MIT managers. Based on employee feedback, MIT’s Center for Work, Family, and Personal Life added several seminars on the aging workforce and eldercare, including “How Aging Affects Memory,” “Negotiating Job Flexibility,” and “Caring for Elders at a Distance.” Thirty-seven percent of MIT employees are age 50+, and the average tenure of employees age 50+ is 16.7 years.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: MIT attends job fairs and workshops in connection with Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, which provides training and employment services for mature workers.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Full- and part-time employees at MIT are offered the following learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes.

MIT’s Quarter Century Club recognizes employees at 25 years, when employees can choose either a chair or a watch as a gift. Employees have opportunities to gain experience by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects.

MIT’s Disability Services accommodates employees with disabilities and provides adjustments that enable them to perform the tasks needed to be productive in their jobs. For example, assisted-listening devices are provided to help the employee hear students from any area of the classroom.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 17 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 65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, 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. MIT offers employees flexible-spending accounts to help cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: MIT offers a 401(k) with an employer match and a cash-balance plan to its full- and part-time employees. Incentives to join the 401(k) plan include the following: Employees may invest in lifecycle funds and employees age 50+ can make catch-up contributions. Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members and from the company that administers the 401(k) plan.

MIT offers paid time off specifically designated for caregiving. The school 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 club discounts, physical activity and exercise programs, weight loss programs, and stress-management training.

Full- and part-time employees receive the following dependent-care benefits: On-site care for children and grandchildren, referral services to help employees find care for children and grandchildren and  eldercare, and backup care for children and grandchildren and eldercare.

Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: MIT offers the following alternative work arrangements to full- and part-time employees: flextime, compressed work schedules, job-sharing, and telecommuting. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.  

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