Employee Incentive Programs Targeted to Smokers
In Part 2 of this series of posts, we talked about employers who charge higher health care premiums to employees who smoke. These types of programs are commonly lumped together under the broader term of “Wellness Programs.”
But, in fairness, a true Wellness Program involves more than a financial penalty. The modern workforce expects more rewards than punishments from a wellness program. And most employers have answered that call to action by using positive reinforcement strategies–either alone or in conjunction with higher premiums.
Employers may offer special discounts, rebates, and incentives in return for employees’ adherence to certain wellness initiatives, such as smoking cessation. In order to offer these benefits to non-smokers, employers must comply with additional HIPAA regulations. The incentive program must be reasonably structured to promote health; the rewards must be proportionate to the employer’s gain; and the incentives must be strictly based on the employees’ compliance with the program.
Other Posts on Smoking in the Workplace:
DOL Offers Compliance Checklist for Wellness Programs, which discusses the Wellness Program Analysis.