By Russell D. Chapman
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed its first lawsuit directly challenging the operation of a wellness program.
In EEOC v. Orion Energy Systems, the EEOC alleged that the employer imposed a wellness program on its employees in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint filed Aug. 20, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the EEOC claims that the defendant, Orion Energy Systems, administered a wellness program in which employees were asked to complete a health risk assessment, which included questions regarding medical history and blood work. Read more…
Workers believe employer wellness programs should be all gain but no pain, according to a poll released this week.
The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found employees approve of corporate wellness programs when they offer perks, but recoil if the plans have punitive incentives such as higher premiums for those who do not take part. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
Wellness programs, which are encouraged under the federal health law, are structured in various ways. In some plans, the worker has to join a particular program, such as an exercise class, while others focus on outcomes, such as the employees’ blood sugar or cholesterol. Evidence is mixed about whether any substantially improve workers’ health or lower costs to employers and insurers. Read more…
June is National Employee Wellness Month, so let’s focus on some current workplace health and wellness stats.
We know that a workplace culture based on trust creates happier, engaged and higher performing employees on all levels. And health and well-being should be considered an important factor towards this overall goal, because employees who experience poor health and wellness are likely to (among other things):
- Experience higher levels of stress;
- Miss more days of work; and,
- Experience less productivity.
These are all important determinants in an employee’s overall engagement. Read more…
Today’s model for workplace wellness is to offer a program of dazzling options, but studies show such programs are not producing the outcomes they promised and that employees and companies deserve.
Here are four major changes for employers who want to improve their employees’ health and wellness and realize a return on their investment in wellness programs.
1. Get real about outcomes
A recently published study by The RAND Corporation revealed that wellness programs are not getting the intended results. One reason programs were failing was that fewer than 37 percent of U.S. employers even measure the effectiveness of their wellness programs. Read more…
Many companies have health and wellness programs in place for employees, whether it be through cash based wellness-incentives or physical programs like exercise classes, challenges, or health seminars, and this trend is on the rise.
According to a 2013 report from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, 86 percent of employers offered wellness-based incentives to employees in 2013, up 29 percent from 2009.
It’s hugely positive that companies are emphasizing a focus on employee health and wellness, and what’s even better news? It’s likely many businesses have programs in place that they may not even know serve to keep their employees healthy! Read more…
“So Dad, now you can relax since you have all this time off. I am taking my vacation the same time so we can both hang out.”
On my 12 hour flight from Saudi Arabia to New York last Friday, I thought of what am I going to do for close to four weeks off. In the Middle East, it is not viewed favorably if you are doing company work while away on vacation unless it is an absolute emergency.
I wrote a TLNT post that broke records in views and readership a while back about vacations: Americans vs. other expats. I know of so many people who have taken 30, 40 days of vacation and do not give it a second thought. But here I am in the solitude at 50,000 feet altitude wondering what I am going to do for the next month. Read more…
According to the scientists, stress kills.
Stress affects our brain chemistry and our neurological system and makes us gain weight in all the wrong places, like around the belly.
Some scientists say that the lower your place in the social hierarchy, the more stress you’ll have. That doesn’t sound terribly shocking, considering some of the difficulties of being poor.
But what is shocking is that these studies weren’t conducted on the poorest of the poor. These studies involved middle-class folks in middle-class jobs making their middle-class widgets.
Apparently, being a subordinate sucks. Read more…
It’s annual enrollment time, the autumn period when many people with job-based health insurance ante up for another year.
Although news reports have fixated on the problems with the online health marketplaces that launched Oct. 1, for the vast majority of people that’s a non-issue. If they get insurance through a job at a company that has at least 50 employees, they probably won’t be using the marketplaces, also called exchanges.
That doesn’t mean people with employer-based plans are unaffected by the Affordable Care Act. As employers adjust plans to meet new requirements and try to reduce their costs, people can expect to see changes next year. Read more…
Editor’s Note: Sometimes, readers ask about past TLNT articles they may have missed. That’s why on Fridays we republish a Classic TLNT post that some of you have requested.
Nearly 20 years ago when I was editor of a newspaper in Great Falls, Montana, there was a winter ritual that never ceased to amaze me: watching members of my staff huddled outside the back door of the building trying to have a quick smoke before they couldn’t stand the cold anymore.
Yes, north central Montana can be a pretty chilly place.
The February day I left to fly to a new job in Hawaii (that’s another story for another day), the temperature was a crisp 15 below zero with a wind chill of around minus 45, so seeing people huddled outside freezing their fannies off just because they needed a smoke seemed, well, a little excessive.
This just proved to be again that smokers go through a lot to be able to get their fix. Read more…
By Howard Mavity
I have always assumed that exhaustion affects our judgment, makes us sloppy and unsafe, and more prone to anger.
Behavioral research supports my assumptions. Perhaps our first wellness step should be a campaign to get employees to sleep … and to follow our own advice!
Dr. Christopher M. Barnes posted a provocatively titled May 31 blog, Sleep-Deprived People Are More Likely To Cheat on the HBR Blog Network. Barnes pointed out that: Read more…