Human Resources Training, Workplace Wellness Program

Implementing the Affordable Care Act, GINA, and other Discrimination Laws into your Wellness Program

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Wellness programs have come a long way from being a set of activities consisting of a newsletter, or, incentives for exercising and taking a look at one’s diet, to something of a holistic strategy that actively intervenes in promoting the health and wellbeing of the employee and decreasing the employer’s healthcare costs.

Traditionally, wellness programs have been seen as a benefit for the employee. These programs aim to incentivize employee participation with the wellness programs and reward them based on their level of involvement. However, in the process, most wellness programs have given way to some another kind of discrimination based on the employees’ special class, such as disability, race, or gender.

While the evolution of wellness programs is certainly a positive thing to have happened for the workforce, designing them in a manner that transcends these limitations is the need of the hour. This makes it imperative for organizations to put in place a wellness strategy that is non-discriminatory towards all their employees.

Laws such as the ADA, GINA, FMLA, and other civil rights laws, along with other new federal regulations, have emphasized the role of nondiscriminatory wellness plans in organizations. Regulations from the U. S. Department of Labor (DoL), the Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS) make it mandatory for every individual participating to be able to receive the full amount of any reward or incentive, regardless of any health factor or the type of wellness program,

Further, new regulations have divided wellness programs into two types with specific rules for each. A highlight of the regulations is that they address the issue of employee discrimination based on health/disability, age, gender and other protected classes. These laws have created specific regulations to prevent employee discrimination in wellness programs. From January 1, 2014 onwards, employers have been required to ensure that their wellness programs comply with the final rule.

A webinar from TrainHR, a leading provider of professional training for human resources, will set these issues in the proper perspective. Susan Strauss, a national and international speaker, trainer, consultant and a recognized expert on workplace and school harassment and bullying, will be the speaker at this ninety-minute webinar, which is being organized on May 17.

Please visit  http://bit.ly/2PW8uaV to enroll for this webinar and gain clear insights into how to implement a nondiscriminatory and legally compliant set of employee wellness programs into your organization.

This webinar has been approved for 1.5 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR, PHR, PHRca, SPHR, GPHR, PHRi and SPHRi recertification through HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

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The aim of this learning session is to specifically help participants differentiate between the two types of wellness programs. While doing so, Dr. Strauss will explain why the knowledge of the ways by which these two types of wellness programs is important. She will list and explain the four standards required by the ACA for health-contingent wellness programs to follow to ensure nondiscrimination.

She will take up HIPAA and specific discrimination laws for discussion and explain the requirements for their compliance in wellness programs. Participants will be able to understand the difference between the reasonable alternative standard for activity-based wellness programs and the reasonable alternative standard for outcome-based plans. Dr. Strauss will also show the steps that the participants of this webinar can take to strategically plan a comprehensive wellness program.

She will cover the following areas at this webinar:

  • provide examples of how wellness programs have resulted in discrimination lawsuits
  • explain the role that the ADA, GINA, FMLA, and other civil rights laws play in the design and development of your wellness strategy
  • provide specific examples of the alternative standards and why they are mandatory
  • list the benefits of a Wellness strategy to minimize healthcare costs for the organization and the employee
  • discuss the critical steps in designing and developing the Wellness strategy
  • plan an effective organization-wide implementation process
  • Establish an effective evaluation method of the Wellness program.

 

Personnel who are closely involved in employee wellness programs, such as CFO’s, Wellness Directors, Risk Management Directors, Occupational Health Nurses, Employers and Business owners, and Human Resources Specialists and Managers will benefit from this course in a big way.

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About the speaker:

Dr. Susan Strauss conducts harassment and bullying investigations and functions as an expert witness in harassment and bullying lawsuits. The popularity of these exercises can be gauged from the vast spectrum of sectors that her clients hail from: business, education, healthcare, law, and government organizations from both the public and private sector.

She has conducted research, written over 30 books, book chapters, and journal articles on harassment, bullying, and related topics. She appears on television and radio programs and is frequently interviewed for newspaper and journal articles.

 

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Human Resources Training, Workplace Wellness Program

Why is Workplace Wellness Program Important?

 

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Employers are getting it – sort of. Most believe in the concept of keeping their employees healthy because it just makes sense. Not only does paying attention to this make a difference in the lives of the people who are the most valuable asset to a company, but there are also many benefits to the bottom line – lowered health claims, improved energy and morale, lowered sickness, and improved productivity.

A successful, results-based corporate wellness plan offers various programs with the underlying objective of true behaviour change. To have the biggest impact, a comprehensive approach should include focusing on the individual and implementing group and awareness programs suitable to target the widest range of the population. Individual-based programs may include one-on-one health coaching. Here, the certified health coach works with individuals in achieving personal or family wellness goals. This individual component of the wellness plan ensures accountability, follow up and evaluation which contribute to healthy, long lasting behavioural change. Awareness and group programs need to ensure effective communication strategies that include repetition, small bite-sized information sharing, and ways to ensure the unmotivated are also hearing the same message!

The best way to achieve success with a wellness program is working any chosen initiatives into an overall plan within the organization. The strategic plan may consist of completing a Health Risk Assessment [HRA], establishing a wellness committee, outlining objectives, implementing initiatives and evaluating effort. The results of an HRA outline demographics, employee interests and an overall health risk profile. Strategically aligning the program design to address the results of the HRA, offering programs to support employee interests, and ensuring employee and management objectives are met, all contribute to a healthy return on investment.

Paving the way to motivate the unmotivated isn’t rocket science, but it does take a strategic approach. To achieve optimal engagement with wellness, we need a strategy that is inclusive, encouraging and staged within a healthy environment. This recipe provides the best bet for achievement of a more engaged workforce. Programming needs to be offered to the people who need a wellness program the most – the unmotivated, uninterested and unhealthy. These people respond positively to fresh ideas that are relevant to their needs and their ability to act.

A comprehensive wellness program that is engaging and consistently presents opportunities to increase awareness and move towards health is what works. There is no such thing as a quick-fix approach. The key to program and engagement success is the ability to work with individual employees to ultimately help them modify their behaviours. For some it might be a minor habit adjustment, for others it could be a drastic lifestyle change. This model ensures that a wellness program, tailored for each specific company, will achieve maximum benefits.

The employee wellness industry is growing because it’s easy to see a return on better health. The more programs offered to encourage lasting behaviour change, the healthier the return will be. Healthy employees cost less Period.

How to improve employee wellness programs :

 

  • Effectively Communicate Wellness Initiatives
  • Garnering leadership support for an Effective Wellness Program
  • Motivating the unmotivated for Wellness Program success
  • Optimizing Engagement with Wellness Initiatives