Mason Makes AARP’s List of Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Posted: June 17, 2013 at 9:56 am, Last Updated: June 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

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By Beth Pullias

English professor Don Gallehr was featured in a PBS NewsHour segment. Creative Services photo

English professor Don Gallehr was featured in a PBS NewsHour segment this year on professors working past the usual retirement age. Creative Services photo

George Mason University has been ranked 13th out of 50 employers by AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as one of the 2013 Best Employers for Workers Over 50.

George Mason is one of four employers named in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia employers also listed include Bon Secours Virginia Health System (8th) based in Richmond, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (9th) in Arlington, and Virginia Commonwealth University (17th) in Richmond.

“AARP improves opportunities for older workers by spotlighting employers that have implemented programs that help retain, retrain, engage and recruit mature workers,” says AARP Virginia State President Bob Blancato.  “Virginia’s four award winners know that recruiting and retaining 50-plus workers is smart business.”

George Mason’s Retirement Connection program is one program that helped the university obtain its ranking of 13th in the nation for the Best Employers honor. Retirees are given a myriad of gifts upon retirement, including complimentary tickets to the Center for the Arts and to a university basketball game, a 30-day pass to the university fitness facility, and complimentary parking for one year. (Those with 15 years of service can continue their Mason parking after their first complimentary year for just the cost of a hangtag.) Retirees with 30 or more years of service receive a free lifetime membership to the fitness facility.  Employees with 15 or more years of creditable service at retirement are eligible for a health insurance credit to assist with insurance premium costs.

Mason’s Life Planning/Eldercare Services is another noted program.  By offering free semimonthly seminars on personal, professional and family wellness, providing eldercare consultation services, and being available for resource and referral assistance, Mason is able to support its faculty and staff in their pursuits of living healthy, happier lives on campus and at home.

“We are so proud to be listed on this year’s AARP top employers for workers over 50 list,” says Linda Harber, associate vice president of Human Resources and Payroll at Mason. “Thanks to all of the Mason community who contribute to helping to make Mason the very special place it is today.  It’s great that our caring work environment has been recognized once again.”

Any U.S.-based employer with at least 50 employees is eligible to apply for the Best Employers award. Candidates are vetted to ensure that practices meet the needs of mature workers. Key areas of consideration include: recruiting practices; opportunities for training, education and career development; workplace accommodations; alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling, job sharing and phased retirement; employee health and retirement benefits; and retiree work opportunities.

The top Best Employers this year will be profiled in the August-September issue of AARP The Magazine. Accompanying that salute will be a feature article that explores the strengths of older workers.

For a full list and for more information on the 2013 Best Employers, please go to www.aarp.org/bestemployers, which includes background on employers’ workforce practices and a description of the selection process.

Write to Beth Pullias at bpullias@gmu.edu

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