Is it possible to have healthy employees and a healthily bottom line? With ever increasing healthcare insurance costs, reported obesity rate of 1 in 3 adults, and a rapidly aging workforce it would certainly seem that improving the health of employees would be good for the employees and good for the company. In fact the Healthy People 2010 program managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set a goal of:
- 75% of all employers, regardless of size, providing wide reaching corporate wellness programs
- 75% of all a company’s staff participating in employer-sponsored corporate wellness programs.
When implementing a corporate program you do need to be careful in how the program is designed and employee participation handled. Otherwise it can become yet another area for claims of employment discrimination and the violation of employee privacy. Corporate wellness programs can easily run afoul of the law despite of the best of intentions because multiple federal laws come into play. The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report on where these programs and federal law intersect. The report discusses the challenges employees face in implementation a program while not discriminating against employees and complying with HIPAA requirements. The report is available at http://www.disabilityleavelaw.com/uploads/file/CRS%20Wellness%20Report(1).pdf
Join the conversation: do you have a corporate wellness program or plan to implement one in 2011?