Ep 30 – Wellness Spending Accounts Are New Work Perk Trend

Welcome to the new Workology Go Podcast. In just under five minutes, we get you the HR and workplace news you need before you start your day. Get ready, get set and go with the Workology Go Podcast.

Here are today’s HR and workplace news headlines from Workology Go Podcast. I’m Jessica Miller-Merrell. The Workology Go Podcast is sponsored by HSA Bank.

Ep 30 – Wellness Spending Accounts Are New Work Perk Trend

Working in HR we’ve all heard about healthcare spending accounts or HSA’s and flexible spending accounts also known as FSA’s. In fact, the wellness industry for the workplace is a really growing area of interest.  A report sponsored by U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that over 80% of companies in the US with over fifty employees offered some sort of corporate wellness benefit.

But wellness isn’t just about retention or just employers being on-trend. It’s more than that. Companies that focus on wellness reap solid financial benefits. A report from Harvard Business School found that for American-based companies, their medical expenses fell by $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and that employee absenteeism expenses fell by $2.73.

Today’s featured article comes from SHRM and is titled, “Lifestyle Spending Accounts Add an Option to the Benefits Mix.”

Maybe you haven’t heard about Lifestyle Spending Accounts or LSAs. LSAs are funded by employers with money that is taxable as income to employees when they spend it, unlike the tax advantages of HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs, for which withdrawn funds are not taxable. LSA’s are used for things like yoga classes, gym memberships, nutrition counseling, life coaching, and even food supplements. I’m an avid floater using float therapy as my meditation.

Should you consider adding additional benefits like an LSA? How do you know it’s the right benefit or what your employees want? Christina Duffield-Bittner who is a nutrition coach talks about how to promote, develop, and encourage workplace wellness that aligns with your employee’s needs.

Yeah I think it’s great. It starts at the H.R. level or even higher up to notice that we need healthy behaviors or some of the employees are really getting sick in the hospital whatever it may be.

But then we also had to look back and say OK a person will not take steps toward their health if they are pressured. I’ve seen that so many times with my clients. They will take a step when they’re ready on their timing so it may be that you’re providing different resources or activities for when they are ready. If you start like a program or activity it’ll take time for the employees to try and start to come to it.

But once they hear other co-workers go into when they hear good things about it they’ll definitely come out. But it’s just the starting process might take a little bit longer than some H.R. leaders may think. Another good idea might be having you put a health forum or a committee at work for the employees so maybe there’s an employee that really loves exercise or lust eat be healthy and is a good leader. Maybe they want to lead the other employees with this forum and a committee so they might listen to their other co-workers compared to maybe H R or a head person. So sometimes co-workers are more easy easier to approach then some H.R. just depends on the relationship within the workplace.

I encourage you to take at your employee participation and spend some time if your benefits programs are supporting your employees. I absolutely love things like massage, float therapy, or my paddleboarding membership. These are not things that traditional benefit programs cover and an employer who covers things like this could really be a difference-maker for me and possibly your employees.

LiquidPlanner, a Seattle-based project management firm offers LSA benefits to their 50 employees. The company offers a $1,000 annual employer contribution to any program that is focused on wellness. Employees have participated by purchasing golf clubs, healthy living cookbooks or activities memberships.

Is an LSA on your radar? I really think it should.

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Featured Story

Lifestyle Spending Accounts Add an Option to the Benefits Mix

More Great Resource

Ep 15 – Why You Need to Think About Financial Wellness Now

Workplace Wellness Programs Study


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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