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Bon Secours Named a 2007 Best Employer for Workers Over 50 AARP recognizes Bon Secours for fifth consecutive year

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 25, 2007) – Bon Secours Richmond Health System has been named one of AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50 for the fifth straight year. AARP is the nation’s advocate for people aged 50 and over.

“An older workforce brings knowledge and expertise to the environment. We are continually developing new ways to retain the employees who fit this profile and ensure that they have growth opportunities within the health system,” said Peter J Bernard, chief executive officer of Bon Secours Richmond Health System.

As a result of Bon Secours programs for older workers, 30 percent of its work force is age 50 or older. The Retiree Work Opportunities Program, for example, provides several options that enable older workers to remain a part of the Bon Secours workforce. The program includes:

  • A comprehensive eldercare benefit program with in-home nurses to assist employees caring for elderly parents and respite care to give employees a break without worry.
  • Flexible work schedules, job sharing, compressed work weeks and options for employees who are juggling work and life issues.
  • Relationships with Senior Connections, Richmond’s area department on aging, to offer programs and provide resources on caring for the caregiver and planning for retirement.
  • Employee benefits fairs targeted at retirees and volunteers.
  • Professional development courses aimed at employees age 50 plus who are ready to transition from one career to another.

“We ask our employees what they need in terms of flexibility and programs to help keep them a vital part of the workforce ,” said Bonnie Shelor, senior vice president of human resources for Bon Scours Richmond Health System. “Nothing compares to what an experienced employee brings to the table, and we deeply value that contribution.”

AARP recognized a number of “winning strategies” that Bon Secours excels in when it comes to employees 50 and older. AARP recognized Bon Secours policies that:

  • offer numerous flexible work options to employees to retain workers over 50
  • allowing employees to move from full-time to part-time to on-call status
  • allow telecommuting and job sharing among managers and hourly staff
  • maintain full benefits while working only 15 hours per week
  • allow retirees who work a minimum of 15 hours per week to receive health, dental and vision coverage, and discounted childcare if they are caring for grandchildren
  • offer 10 college scholarships for employees’ grandchildren each year

Additional Polices and Practices noted by AARP include:

  • Age of Workforce: Thirty percent of Bon Secours employees are 50 and over. The average tenure of employees age 50 and over is 11 years.
  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Bon Secours offers learning and development programs to full-and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, on-line training, and certification classes. In the past 12 months, 100 percent of Bon Secours employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 15 hours spent in training. The School of Nursing was redesigned to accommodate non-nurse employees pursuing an RN degree. As a result of employee requests, the hospital implemented the six-week “Lifestyle Planning” course for employees and spouses who are approaching retirement. Other requests implemented based on employee opinion surveys include “Caring for Caregiver” program, “Employee Wellness Program,” enhancements to health plan to include more benefits to diabetics, $300 wellness allowance, and increased dental and vision coverage. Bon Secours routinely offers job redesigns to employees such as flexibility in scheduling or accommodating those who are physically challenged.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: Bon Secours currently has 902 retirees and has an individual with direct responsibility for retiree relations. Bon Secours stays connected with its retirees by communicating regularly, providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops/information, and formally acknowledging retirees when they retire. Retirees are offered temporary work assignments, consulting/contract work and volunteer work, as well as full and part-time work.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Bon Secours offers alternative work arrangements to full-and part-time employees: flex-time, compressed work schedules, job sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased retirement program. The phased retirement program allows those age 65 and older to work up to 24 hours per week and also receive a pension benefit. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent and temporary basis.

Bon Secours Richmond Health System is a not-for-profit health system with four hospitals in the Richmond area: St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, Memorial Regional Medical Center and Richmond Community Hospital.

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