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Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Industry: Printing/Publishing
Location: Upper Saddle River, N.J.
2008 Rank: 45

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Pearson’s Prepare to Care is an on-site Geriatric Care Manager Program that provides assistance to employees facing eldercare issues. The company recently expanded its backup care program to include all dependents, including children, adults, and those with special needs. Approximately 33 percent of Pearson employees are age 50+.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Pearson uses placement agencies for older job-seekers to target mature workers.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Pearson offers the following learning and development programs to its full- and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. The tuition-reimbursement program, in-house classroom training, and certification classes are offered exclusively to employees working at least 21 hours per week. In the past 12 months, 90 percent of Pearson employees have participated in at least one of the training opportunities, with an average of six hours spent in training.

Pearson celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and gifts. Responding to employee feedback, the company has added defined tele-work programs and a backup eldercare program. Pearson has also expanded Prepare to Care, the on-site Geriatric Care Manager Program.

Employees gain experience by participating in temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and via access to formal job rotation programs. Employee accommodations and redesigns are made based on need, with some employees opting for shorter work hours and some retirees returning to work on a per-day basis.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 21+ 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-term disability. Long-term disability is offered exclusively to full-time employees working at least 35 hours per week.

Retirees under 65 and 65+ receive individual and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage, individual and spousal long-term care insurance, and individual life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for the individual and spousal long-term care insurance benefit upon retirement.

In addition, retirees under 65 and 65+ benefit from the Premium Reimbursement Plan, which reimburses up to $100 per month for each member enrolled in a non-Pearson individual medical and prescription insurance policy. The company offers employees flexible spending accounts to help cover out-of-pocket health care costs.  

Benefits/Financial: Pearson offers a 401(k) plan with an employer match 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 to their 401(k)s. Employees receive financial planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers their 401(k) plan, and from external financial-planning experts.

Pearson offers paid time off specifically designated for caregiving, and short- and long-term time off without pay to allow for caregiving. The following wellness programs are open to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, health club discounts, weight loss programs, stress-management training, and a Redefining Retirement symposium. Forty-eight percent of Pearson employees have used at least one of its wellness benefits during the past 12 months. The company offers the following dependent care benefits to its full- and part-time employees: referral services to assist with care for children and grandchildren and with eldercare, and backup care for children, grandchildren, and elders.  

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