Happy New Year to all, and get those Super Bowl plans ready!
Unless you are currently offering a well-organized & exciting wellness program that encourages your employees to get out and take walks at lunch, count their steps, eat healthy, and even consider throwing that pack of cigarettes (or vapes for you youngsters) in the trash, all those wellness programs that took a ton of our time to plan and got approved by management, that seemed progressive and many times “fun”, just got a kick in the pants! Where do we go from here?
In response to the AARP lawsuit vs. the EEOC regarding incentives, on December 20, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) removed or “vacated” the 30% wellness incentive provision of its final wellness program regulations that were issued back in 2016. No more incentives, at least not clearly permitted (nor prohibited) as of January 1, 2019 should be part of your programming.
Due to this recent EEOC action, employers are left with no clear guidance regarding financial incentives in wellness programs. This includes what level of incentives could affect whether the program would be considered “voluntary” or not, which was AARP’s biggest issue with wellness programs and the incentives (or penalties) that came with them.