Workplace Wellness Legislation-111th Congress

What workplace wellness provisions are included in the health care reform legislation passed by the House and Senate?

“Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”

  • Employers would be permitted to vary premiums, up to 30 percent of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards. Employers must offer an alternative standard for individuals for whom it is unreasonably difficult or inadvisable to meet the standard.   Following a joint study by the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Service, and Treasury, the reward may be increased up to 50%. This provision will be effective January 1, 2014.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services would have the authority to award workplace wellness grants to small employers, defined as those businesses which employ less than 100 employees who work 25 hours or greater per week. In order to be eligible for the grant, an employer could not have a workplace wellness program in place on the date of enactment, and would have to meet criteria related to health awareness; put in place efforts to maximize employee engagement; provide initiatives to change unhealthy behaviors and lifestyles; and have an overall supportive work environment. In order to support this program, $200 million is authorized to be appropriated from FY 2011-2015.
  • The Public Health Service Act would be amended by requiring the director of the CDC to provide employers (small, medium and large) with technical assistance, consultation, tools, and other resources in evaluating an employer’s wellness program.  In order to assess, analyze, and monitor workplace wellness programs, no later than 2 years after the date of enactment, the Director of the CDC would conduct a national worksite health policies and program survey to assess employer-based health policies and programs.  Upon the completion of such study, the Director of the CDC would submit to Congress a report that includes the recommendations of the Director for the implementation of effective employer-based health policies and programs.

The Healthy Workforce Act of 2009

S. 803/ H.R. 1897
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and John Cornyn (R-TX)
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mary Bono (D-CA)
  • Would offer a tax credit to businesses that have comprehensive employee wellness programs.
  • Would credit up to $200 per employee for the first 200 employees and up to $100 per employee, thereafter.
  • Companies would be eligible for the tax credit by establishing programs that raise health awareness among employees, encourage employee behavioral changes, and prompt employee participation through an incentive.
  • Employers who would establish qualified programs would be eligible to receive a tax credit for 10 years.
  • S. 1753 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
  • H.R. 3717 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Resolution Recognizing the First Full Week of April as "Workplace Wellness Week"

H. Con. Res. 405


Representatives Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) and Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA)  


  • Would recognize the first full week of April as "Workplace Wellness Week."


  • H. Con. Res. 405 has passed/agreed to by the House.

Resolution Recognizing the Importance of Workplace Wellness as a Strategy to Help Maximize Employee's Health and Well Being

Senate Resolution 673


Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).


  • Recognizes the Importance of Workplace Wellness as a Strategy to Help Maximize Employee's Health and Well Being.


  • Passed/Agreed to by the Senate.

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