After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuits on numerous employers, such as Honeywell, companies continue to seek more certainty on wellness regulations and compliance (Part 1 and Part 2 overview of wellness regulations). As a result, members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, which is designed to reduce the legal uncertainly in administering employee wellness programs by:
- Explicitly permitting wellness programs to offer a financial incentive to participate;
- Allowing an employee’s spouse to participate; and
- Giving employees up to 180 days to request and complete an alternative wellness program if it is medically inadvisable or unreasonable to complete the employer’s current wellness program.
According to the sponsors of the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Representative John Kline (R-MN), the bill will reaffirm existing law. The legislation does not limit the EEOC’s authority to investigate and litigate complaints of employment discrimination.
If passed, this will be an incredible step forward to removing the uncertainty associated with wellness programming. With greater certainty, more employers will be able to take advantage of the wellness expansion provision in the Affordable Care Act. We look forward to seeing adoption of wellness programs grow with greater clarity on wellness regulations.