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Fri, Sep 7, 2012

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Monster 5 for Friday: Workplace Wellness Edition

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Workplace wellness is a hot topic, with employers big and small experimenting with ways to save money on health care costs. This week’s 5 for Friday rounds up five stories that describe some of top trends in workplace wellness.

5. Employers May Avoid Hiring Smokers as Health Care Reform Kicks In. Law.com: John Banzhaf, a public interest law professor at George Washington University Law School, says the surcharge is necessary to keep employers and nonsmokers from having to bear the medical costs smokers impose on the health care system. “It’s very unfair not to do something about it,” he says.

4.Hospital’s Weight Policy Raising Questions. 9News.com: “Nearly 37% of adults in this country are considered obese, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. A recent study at Yale University concluded that workplace discrimination against overweight people, especially women, is as common as racial discrimination. Only one state, Michigan, and six cities grant specific protections to workers based on weight. Colorado has yet to adopt any such express protections.”

3. Managing Mental Health at Work. Wall Street Journal: Intentionally or not, “corporations encourage a climate of keeping things under wraps,” says Dr. Jeffrey P. Kahn, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

2. The Best Workplace Luxuries. Forbes.com: Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, studies workplaces extensively and says such added benefits are useful only where there’s a positive corporate culture that values employees and rewards their work beyond just attractive perks. “What matters is whether companies let employees make decisions, offer them reasonable job security, and treat them with respect. Not whether or not they give them free food,” he says. “Those are nice things, and they may represent the corporate attitude, but if they’re all you do, they’re worthless.”

Employers Save Big on Wellness Programs.
BenefitsPro.com: “Without question, employers are beginning to understand the direct connection that wellness initiatives can have on both employee health and health care plan cost savings,” says Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. “While the primary goal is reducing health costs, we’re also seeing other advantages from wellness initiatives, such as higher employee morale, increased productivity and reduced disability.”


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