New Company Health Benefits Reflect Improved Employer-Employee Relationship, but Tensions Still Remain

The Society for Human Resource Management reported from its recent annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia on a growing trend of employers providing benefits and incentives for its employees to pursue healthier lifestyles, according to Newswire. This trend represents a positive development in an area where employers have traditionally been at odds with workers, experts say, and also shows how companies are responding to tough economic conditions by pursuing new cost cutting alternatives that don’t compromise the health and wellness of their workers.

The report from the conference indicates that companies offering programs rewarding or providing compensation for workers that participate in personal training or wellness programs has risen from 23 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2012, and the number of companies offering personal training or wellness programs for workers has risen from 33 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2012. This doesn’t just reflect employers’ desire to take advantage of healthy cultural trends that have taken hold in the nation over the past decade; these programs save companies money in the short term, as well as the long term. Incentivization is traditionally much cheaper than direct support, and companies—who in America are often primarily responsible for healthcare services—are hoping to respond to rising healthcare costs by capitalizing on the fact that preventive measures are far less costly in the long term than primary care.

While this trend represents a positive development in workplace relations, workplace safety remains much murkier, especially in industries where that has traditionally been a concern. Employers offering workers benefits of the kind the report describes are traditionally working in white collar industries; blue collar industries and other more traditional workplaces are still covering health benefits, but are lagging behind in improving workers’ health and wellness. This is especially relevant in Georgia, the location for the conference, because Atlanta and surrounding areas still have a large and robust industrial sector.

In a lot of ways, it makes sense that these companies would lag behind providing wellness programs; these companies traditionally provide hourly wages and irregular work schedules, making regular pursuit of a healthy lifestyle more difficult. However, this also makes long-term workplace injury more likely, and makes the need for Georgia workers compensation lawyers in this sector more pressing and more evident. This does not necessarily mean these employers should be punished by workers compensation lawyers for the necessary conditions of their business. It does mean that until such time as these employers can figure out how to properly care for their employees, workers compensation lawyers may be necessary to address the injuries and the occasions for reparations that do arise in these sectors.

The law office of John A. Snyder provides legal services for individuals and businesses throughout the Atlanta area. Mr. Snyder advises, litigates, and settles workers’ comp claims, car accident cases, veterans’ disability, and Social Security disability cases. At our law office, your case is personally managed by Georgia workers compensation lawyer John Snyder. If you need legal help concerning a car accident, please call our office today at 404-321-7733, or Toll Free at 1-855-WORK COMP for a free, no obligation consultation.

Author: Victoria Garcia

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