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Retirees leave utility with lifetime benefits

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

When employees of Penasco Valley Telecommunications retire, they walk away with health, dental, life and vision insurance for life—and free cell phone service for a year.

The Artesia, N.M., telecommunications cooperative has 90 employees with an average tenure of 17 years. One or two retire a year.

The organization follows the “rule of 85”—if adding years of service to an employee’s age at the time of retirement equals 85, the retiree may retain the same insurance that he or she subscribed to during the final three years with the cooperative, and pays just 10% of the premiums—the same as employees.

Workers who do not qualify for the “rule of 85” pay between 25 and 50% of their premiums.

When they leave the job, retirees choose a cell phone, and the cooperative, which sells services for land lines, wireless phones, Internet and cable TV, foots the bill for a year.

Plus, the organization keeps in touch with retirees—it currently has just 12—by keeping them on the mailing list for newsletters and holiday party invitations. Those who attend the annual holiday party receive gifts—the same ones the employees get.

Janice Southard Burk, community and employee relations manager at (575) 748-1241.

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