For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The following statement should be attributed to Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC):
“Employer-sponsored wellness plans are an essential part of the fabric of employer health coverage and are one of the few mechanisms available to large employers to promote the health of employees and hold down the ever-rising cost of medical coverage.
The publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking today by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) represents a step in the right direction towards developing a set of final regulations. ERIC agrees with EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic that these proposed rules represent a ‘strong framework’ and ‘good first step’.
We hope the publication of the proposed rules marks the end of the assault on mainstream wellness programs launched against companies with forward-looking wellness programs, such as the attack on Honeywell last fall. ERIC firmly believes bringing legal action against a company’s wellness program on the basis of unpublished rules is a practice that must be put squarely behind us.
Workplace wellness programs offer a proactive approach and a supportive environment for employees to improve their health and well-being. These benefits are often extended to family members as well; it is important that employers can now be recognized – rather than criticized – for their positive contributions to this effort.
ERIC looks forward to working with the EEOC to further refine these rules to enable employers to aggressively seek to improve the well-being of employees and their families while also protecting the rights of all individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).”