The New Rules for Wellness Plans In A Nutshell

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced here that it had issued issued final rules on how the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act apply to employer-sponsored wellness programs.

So, what do y’all need to know about the EEOC’s new rules on employer wellness programs?

(No one ever accused me of burying the lede.)

What’s this all about?

For those of you who want to slog through the rules, you can find the ADA version here and the GINA version here.

Or, you can view the CliffsNotes versions, courtesy of the EEOC:

Or, if you’re really feeling lazy, I’ll spell it out for you.

Q. Is there a maximum incentive that my business can offer employees?
A. Up to 30% of the total cost of employee-only health coverage.

Q. How about their spouses?
A. Same.

Q. And their kids?
A. Fuggeddaboudit. (But, children may participate)

Q. Can I require employees to participate?
A. Fuggeddaboudit.

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Q. ADA? Does that mean I need to provide reasonable accommodation to participate?
A. Yes.

Q. Is confidentiality important?
A. You bet it is. You need to safeguard health information.

Q. Are there exceptions to the rule?
A. Yes.

Q. OK smart guy. And they are…
A. Wellness programs that do not obtain medical information to earn an incentive.

Q. When do the new rules take effect?
A. January 1, 2017

Since these rules are new, there will be a learning curve. Got questions? Find yourself a good employment lawyer.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (, which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.