By Ilyse Wolens Schuman and Michael J. Lotito
As promised during a Senate hearing conducted earlier this year, members of the House and Senate have introduced a bill seeking to reduce the legal uncertainly in administering employee wellness programs.
The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1189, S. 620) would:
- Explicitly permit wellness programs to offer a financial incentive to participate; Read more…
As someone who worked in the San Francisco Bay Area during the dotcom boom, take it from me — employees LOVE perks.
Silicon Valley figured out a long time ago that all the things companies do for employees above and beyond a paycheck can be both a great lure for new talent, but also a great way to retain those you already have in the fold.
Of course, most companies in America don’t offer the kind of perks that Silicon Valley tech firms do, but as some recent research found, that doesn’t mean that those additional benefits above what you pay people aren’t a great tool for attracting (and keeping) top talent. Read more…
Editor’s note: Weekly Wrap is taking the week off. It will return next Friday.
By Ilyse Wolens Schuman
Recent actions by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were under scrutiny this week during a Senate hearing on wellness programs.
The EEOC bore the brunt of the criticism unleashed during the hearing for acting at odds with provisions the Affordable Care Act to promote the use of such programs. Both Democratic and Republican members of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions advocated employer-provided wellness programs, and asked witnesses to explain the difficulties they have faced in implementing such programs. Read more…
If you get health insurance at work, chances are you have some sort of wellness plan, too. But so far there’s no real evidence as to whether these plans work.
One thing we do know is that wellness is particularly popular with employers right now, as they seek ways to slow the rise of health spending. These initiatives can range from urging workers to use the stairs all the way to requiring comprehensive health screenings.
The 2014 survey of employers by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 98 percent of large employers and 73 percent of smaller employers offer at least one wellness program. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of KFF.) Read more…
By Howard Mavity
We are again running a Biggest Loser Contest among our 31 offices and will award prizes, beginning at $1,000, to individuals who lose the most weight.
I do not watch reality shows and am generally cynical about such programs. However, I am happily eating my own words. Employees are having fun with the contest and the competition has generated a lot of camaraderie and playful competition.
When I visit one office, someone will only half-jokingly ask me to leave donuts on the desk of one of their “weight loss foes” in the next office I visit. Folks have regaled me with their elaborate preparation and routine for winning the contest. Their approach reminded me of my pre-race and pre-fight preparation of a few years ago. Read more…
By Eric B. Meyer
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is obsessed with wellness programs.
Or, as the EEOC likes to describe them “‘so-called’ wellness programs.” And not in a “yay, so-called wellness programs are super” kinda way.
No, in recent months, the EEOC has initiated litigation against companies (example, example, example) claiming that they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act (GINA) by both requiring medical examination and penalizing employees who decline to participate. Read more…
Are people busier on the job now than ever before?
It’s something I think about because I talk to a lot of people, and when I get them on the phone, the conversation always seems to get into how crazy busy they are at work and how it doesn’t seem like the craziness is going away anytime soon.
In fact, this ultra-busy business environment we all seem to be in now even popped up in a survey last week on people in the workplace who are sick with the flu. Read more…
Employee engagement is all the rage these days.
It should be, considering that only 13 percent of employees feel engaged by the work they do, and that low engagement leads to high turnover, which can cost companies up to 150 percent of an employee’s salary.
But with so many factors involved in employee engagement – job satisfaction, stress, work-life balance, purpose, relationships, physical and emotional well-being – it can be tough to achieve. CEOs and HR leaders at leading organizations are learning a focus on employee well-being impacts most factors critical for employee engagement. Read more…
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…