Will employers resort to penalizing employees for unhealthy habits?
Posted Aug 26 2008 4:30pm
I prefer the use of incentive's in employee wellness programs. However, there are differing opinions and several companies have made the news lately for penalizing smokers and other unhealthy habits. As reported in today's Washington Post , The Tribune Company plans to require employees to pay an extra $100 per month in premiums if they or their covered family members smoke. Smokers cost approximately $3600 more a year than non smokers in extra healthcare costs and lost productivity. The lawsuits are starting, and we will all have to watch carefully to see how they shake out.
In the Washington, DC area, the job market is still tight enough that employers will continue to look for ways to reward their employees, and wellness programs are used as much as a recruitment and retention tool as a way to curb healthcare cost increases.If you implement a wellness program that your employees see as a benefit, you will reap the rewards of an ROI that can be calculated in terms of decreased health care costs, increased productivity, decreased turnover and enhanced recruitment and retention. Nothing to sneeze at! One of my clients has seen turnover drop from the 26% down to under 10% - serious cost savings that are a direct result of their wellness programs and excellent employee benefits.