Kaiser Offers Cash Bonuses in Employee Wellness Program

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Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente and the 29 unions representing its employees are offering up to $500 bonuses to groups of workers who lose weight, lower their blood pressure, stop smoking and lower their cholesterol levels, according to a report in the Merced Sun-Star.

The bonuses will be based on the health of employees in particular regions. If the employee group reaches its health goals, every employee in the group will receive the monetary bonus, even if they do not take steps to get healthy.

The program has three phases, according to the report. In phase one, the workers fill out an online health survey. If three-quarters of employees in a region complete the survey, every person in that region gets a bonus of $150. In the second phase, employees update their baseline in the four categories, and they will receive $150 bonus if 85 percent do so. Finally, in phase three, the group must show an average of 1.7 percent improvement with no declines, and everyone will receive $200. The last phase ends December 2014, and all of the bonuses will be awarded in 2015.

"We expect that as our workforce gets healthier, there will be lower healthcare costs," Kath Gerwig, vice president for employee safety, health and wellness at Kaiser, said in the report. Other benefits of healthier employees include fewer absences and improved customer service, according to the report.

Kaiser's unions came up with the idea for the program, and took it to the system's leaders. The program is for all of the 133,000 employees at Kaiser, union and nonunion alike.

More Articles on Employee Wellness:
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CDC Announces 104 Employers for National Healthy Worksite Program

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