Would You Pay Your Employees To Stay Healthy? You Make The Call

According to a survey of 31,000 employees across 22 markets in the UK, 33 percent of the respondents think their employers should pay them for keeping healthy, and 34 percent would participate in an employer's health initiative only if there were a financial incentive to do so.

An overwhelming 70 percent of respondents do not think health screenings, physiotherapy treatments, spa days, or gym memberships meet their needs.

The study shows that despite employers increasing their focus on health and well-being, employees are more concerned with retirement benefits. Katie Scott "Should employers pay their employees to stay healthy?"  employeebenefits.co.uk (Feb. 12, 2018).

So, the question for our readers is: Should employers pay their employees to stay healthy?

Please let us know what you think in the comment section or take the poll. Here are some opinions of some of the McCalmon editorial staff:

Jack McCalmon, Esq.

I think this is a very bad idea. The risk for American employers is enormous.

Here is one example:

Joe is very healthy and receives a bonus for being healthy, but Joe is stricken with cancer, of course through no fault of his own. Taking away his bonus is a denial of an employment opportunity because of a disability, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It is best for employers to provide safe and healthy workplaces; encourage health and wellness; and provide ways employees can achieve health and wellness.

Kirstin Heffner, Esq.

If a cost analysis proves that incentives will lower an employer's health care costs, then it is difficult to say "no." However, I don't believe paying people to stay healthy is a long-term solution, especially for long-term health risks such as diabetes and heart health. Personal health is just that, personal. People may agree to a short-term fix to earn an incentive, but they will adhere to long-term healthy lifestyle changes based on personal conviction. It is my experience that people don't like being told how to live their lives, despite good intentions. With that said, some will make changes for the long haul, and that is good.

Employers who do pay employees to stay healthy should pay special attention to discrimination and confidentiality risk pursuant to Title VII, the ADA, GINA, FMLA, and other laws that regulate medical information for employers.

You can provide a comment on what you would do or answer our poll. Please note any comments provided may be shared with others.  

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