It is necessary to be aware of the legal risks which come along with corporate wellness program to make those benefits worth.
Corporate wellness programs offer a variety of benefits, adding value for both companies and their employees. The program helps the employees to gain access to a range of products, services, and incentives which contribute to their health and well-being, reducing cost and boosting morale.
But investing in CWP comes with inherent risks as well. Legal challenges under federal laws designed to prevent discrimination, protecting employees privacy can be faced while running the program.
What are corporate wellness programs?
CWP are designed to support and encourage a holistic approach to an employee’s well-being by forming a culture of health around. It offers a wellness solution beyond the traditional programs, cultivating healthy lifestyle among employees for an improved outcome. The program contributes to optimizing human resource investments, increasing productivity, and boosting employee engagement.
The program carries advantage for both the business and employees. It helps a company in achieving significant savings on health insurance and medical care by supporting employees to stay healthy, reducing the risk factors for illness and injury. While for many companies, these programs add value to the total employee package, providing incentives to both current and future employees. It also increases staff retention, enabling the company to remain competitive in the market.
CWP are accompanied by risks for a company for which understanding those risks are highly essential for limiting a company’s liability. A company displays a direct personal interest in the health and well-being of its employees which can have implications for employee equality and privacy. The more formally structured and involved a company’s wellness program is, the higher the risks of it running afoul of laws.
The core federal laws that pertain to corporate wellness programs are outlined as follows:
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
According to GINA, employees are not required to provide genetic information about themselves, such as their family history to the employers.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
It deals with restricting the allowable cost of corporate wellness programs incentives to 30% of the cost of health coverage.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
It governs the collection of personal and identifying information about employees. The act mandates what kind of information employers can collect under the program to how it is stored and handled.
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
ERISA explains that employers are prohibited from discriminating employees on their health status. However, ERISA permits employers to offer certain discounts on wellness services on the basis of health status.
A glaring gap can be found in the conception and implementation of corporate wellness programs in India. According to a recent study, responses show that wellness programs aren’t exactly working effectively due to the lack of awareness or a desire for improvement.
Therefore, a corporate wellness program in India is yet to shine and emerge.