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November 08, 2007
More Companies to Offer Financial Incentives for Healthy Lifestyles
Over 70 percent of employers will offer financial incentives to reward workers who adopt healthy lifestyles by 2009, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health.

According to the 2007/2008 Staying@Work survey, 46 percent of the 355 of employers that participated in the survey reported that they currently offer financial incentives to encourage workers to improve their health, or plan to offer these incentives in 2008. An additional 26 percent of employers reported that they planned to start offering such financial incentives in 2009.

Meanwhile, a large majority (85 percent) of employers responded that they currently provide tools that encourage safety and wellness, or will do so in 2008. An additional 7 percent say they plan to implement such tools in the workplace by 2009, meaning more than 9 out of 10 employers will have such tools in place. Moreover, 82 percent report that they currently promote emotional health, or will by 2008, with another 7 percent planning to do so by 2009. And, over half (52 percent) of employers currently--or will in 2008--involve senior management in promoting health and productivity and another 16 percent plans to do so by 2009.

According to a press release announcing the Staying@Work survey, it also found that companies with effective health and productivity programs demonstrate superior performance (such as achieving 20 percent more revenue per employee) and have cost increases that are significantly lower for sick leave (five times lower), long-term disability (4.5 times lower), short-term disability (four times lower), and general health coverage (3.5 times lower).

"The survey results confirm that successful employers are more likely to provide tools to support health improvement, promote emotional health, educate employees on safety at work, use positive economic incentives, and involve senior management in promoting health and productivity," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, in the press release.

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