EEOC publishes revised wellness guidelines
Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its unofficial proposal to revise regulations that set the level of incentives employers may offer to encourage employee engagement in workplace health and wellness programs.
While not the official regulations, the official proposal is expected soon, and once published, the document will be open for public comment for 60 days. Until comments are received and responded to, the rule will not be considered final.
What is included in the proposed regulations?
The proposed rule seeks to address how employee wellness programs may use incentives for medical exams and disability-related inquiries while still meeting the voluntariness standards under the ADA and GINA.
The EEOC has proposed that wellness programs, which include such inquiries and exams would only be allowed to offer de minimis incentives to remain voluntary, such as water bottles and low-value gift cards.
The EEOC has provided for exceptions in which the 2013 HIPAA wellness rules (further clarified by the ACA in 2015) would apply. More details on those exceptions will be shared after the public comment period.
Vitality is committed to working with leading industry groups and the EEOC directly to understand and provide commentary on the proposal. Once a final rule is published, we will work with our clients to ensure their program remains compliant as may be required within the existing regulatory environment.
At this time, no effective date or required adherence date has been published. We anticipate a date will not be provided until after the comment period. Rest assured, we will continue to closely monitor developments and provide timely and frequent updates.
Lauren Prorok, General Counsel- maintains her argumentative savvy through continual & vocal support of the Packers and Badgers despite being a Chicago native.