Though companies are increasingly turning to employee wellness programs to help reduce the costs of healthcare coverage and promote a healthier, more productive workforce, there are some liabilities associated with these programs. Here are three key considerations to take note of when adding a wellness plan to your benefits package.
- Voluntary Participation
It is important for an employee wellness program to be completely voluntary. This way, employers can avoid being held liable for injuries suffered by employees at fitness or recreational events. Be sure that employees don’t feel pressured to join the program for fear of workplace or performance impact.
- An hour and Wage Liabilities
Programs, where employees are required to participate or are tied to workplace advantages, are liabilities. These advantages or requirements are tied to payments, such as being “on the clock” during the activities. Conversely, claims of unpaid wages from practice sessions or continuous training could also arise from wellness programs.
- Program Accessibility
Any program or practice established also needs to be accessible to all individuals. There is a huge potential for discrimination claims under the ADA and FEHA if individuals are excluded from events for physical or mental health reasons. Confidentiality with health concerns also pops up under this category as well.
Wellness plans can help create a stronger, healthier team, but there are liabilities for employers. These three areas should be given great attention when developing a wellness program.