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Saint Vincent Health System

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2008, 2007
Industry: Hospitals/Health care
Location: Erie, Pa.
Website: www.saintvincenthealth.com
2008 Rank: 26

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Saint Vincent Health System retirees become part of the R.S.V.P. (Retired Saint Vincent Valued Pacesetters) program upon retirement. The program keeps retirees involved with the health system by allowing participation in employee activities, such as awards programs, picnics, and holiday dinners, and also potential part-time and volunteer work. Employees with 25+ years of employment become part of the Quarter Century Club, which has 441 members, of whom 79 percent are age 50+. Thirty-five percent of Saint Vincent employees are age 50+, with the average tenure being 17.3 years.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Saint Vincent uses placement agencies for older job-seekers to target mature workers and retirees. 

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Saint Vincent offers the following learning and development programs to full- and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and calculator training for the defined-benefit pension. The health system offers tuition reimbursement exclusively to employees working at least 20 hours per week, with the remaining programs requiring at least eight hours per week. During the past 12 months, 100 percent of Saint Vincent employees participated in at least one of its training opportunities, with an average of 12 hours spent in training.

The health system celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, and awards.

Responding to employee requests, St. Vincent has enhanced benefits in the following ways: adopting  the Quarter Century Club, creating the Human Resources customer-service enhancement program, building the online defined-benefit pension calculator, and implementing the remembrance program. Employees gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects. Accommodations are made for employees with special needs, including the following: job reassignments demanding less physical work and providing amplified stethoscopes needed due to hearing loss.  

Benefits/Health: Employees working at least four hours a week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, and individual and family vision and dental insurance. The health system offers short- and long-term disability exclusively to employees working at least 35 hours per week.

Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, individual and spousal vision and dental insurance, and employee-assistance services. New hires are eligible for all of these benefits upon retirement. Saint Vincent offers flexible-spending accounts to employees to assist with out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: Saint Vincent offers 403(b) and a 401(k) retirement-savings plans with an employer match, a defined-benefit plan, and a money-purchase defined-contribution plan, to its full- and part-time employees. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions.

Employees receive financial-planning information from the firm that administers their retirement plans and from external experts not associated with their retirement plans. Specifically, employees can have monthly meetings with investment advisors and with HR representatives.

Employees can take short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence without pay for caregiving. The health system has a Special Needs Bank that is designed to accept paid-time-off donations from employees who want to donate theirs.

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