Corporate incentives for employers offering wellness programs? If healthier employees and reduced health insurance claims is not enough for an employer to start their own worksite health promotion program then maybe offering a corporate tax incentive program would be.
Corporate Incentives Last year two senators proposed to create a “Healthy Workforce Act” bill that would hopefully encourage businesses to keep employees healthy and prevent disease among their workforce.
Senator Gordon Smith, Iowa and Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa would like to propose future legislation that gives employers a 50% tax credit if they implement a worksite wellness program to help control costs.
Of course employers will need to meet certain criteria for this credit which includes the following important components:
A health education and awareness campaign, which would involve implementation of a health risk appraisal, health screenings, and biometric testing.
Behavioral change programs–such as wellness coaching/counseling, presentations, seminars, or self-help materials to encourage healthier lifestyles among employees.
Supportive environment-involves inclusion of employee incentives for participation like reduction in health insurance premiums, allowing time for participation in programs during work hours, and providing healthier choices onsite.
Creation of a wellness committee–that would be responsible for tailoring programs to fit the needs of the organization and the employees.
As a professional in corporate health, I think this is a great first step in improving our health care system and encouraging employers to take responsibility for the health of their employees. If this legislation is passed, I believe this is another way to help remove one of the health promotion challenges most employers face which is finding funding to support wellness initiatives.
Giving employers a tax incentive allows them designate more funding to the development of a sound wellness program and continuation of effective programs. Of course I hope that employers will initiate a program even if this bill is not passed.