Corporate wellness programmes on the rise in the US

Above: 79% of US employers now offer corporate wellness programmes 

US employers are expanding their corporate wellness programmes and spending more on health-focused incentives for employees, according to new research. 

79% of employers now offer some form of corporate wellness programme, spending an average of $693 (£470) per employee on workplace wellness incentives. This is up from $594 (£403) per employee in 2014 and $430 (£292) five years ago. 

The findings were revealed in a survey carried out by US non-profit organisation The National Business Group on Health and financial experts Fidelity Investments. 

Large companies with more than 20,000 members of staff have a higher employee spend - at $878 a head. 

Brian Marcotte, president and chief executive of the National Business Group on Health, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see an increasing number of companies embrace corporate wellness programmes as a way to promote a healthy workforce. 

“As employers continue to look at ways to improve employee health and increase productivity, we expect to see (companies) continue to expand and evolve their wellness offerings, and find new and innovative ways to encourage employee participation.”

Common programme incentives include gifts cards, money, lower healthcare premiums or contributions towards a healthcare account. 

However, many employees are failing to take full advantage of these incentives. The survey found that only 47% of employees earned their full incentives last year, with 26% earning an incomplete amount. 

The most popular workplace wellness programmes of 2015 are expected to be biometric screenings, health risk assessments and physical activity programmes.  

72%, 70% and 54% of employees respectively are planning to offer these programmes this year.