Employee Grievance Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1349 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Employee Health Programs

An Employee Grievance

Employee benefits issues: How employee health interventions can decrease costs

Employee benefits issues: How employee health interventions can decrease costs

One of the most striking aspects of the 'Googleplex,' the famous site where the Google Company headquarters are located, is the extent to which physical fitness is part of the employee workday. Free fitness and yoga classes, as well as access to an on-site gym, are some of the most notable perks offered by Google to its employees, along with generous healthcare packages and other benefits. There is also an on-site doctor for employees, to ensure that any minor sneezes and sniffles are quickly contained (the Google Culture, 2010, Google). But while Google promotes its services as part of the amenities it offers to its employees, many workplaces have taken an even more aggressive role in promoting positive and healthy lifestyle. Healthy employees, managers rationalize, are sick less often, take fewer days off, and also are less costly for the employee healthcare system in the long-term.

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One of the most controversial employee health interventions involves hiring decisions. "More hospitals and medical businesses in many states are adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants, saying they want to increase worker productivity, reduce health care costs and encourage healthier living" (Sulzberger 2011: 1). Hospitals in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, have officially stopped hiring smokers and treat nicotine like an illegal narcotic. They argue that living a healthy lifestyle is part of the requirements of healthcare employment: to set a good example for patients; to lower patient's exposure to nicotine; and to reduce overall healthcare costs for financially-strapped healthcare organizations. Some companies even test regularly test new and current employees' urine for nicotine, while others merely rely upon an 'honor system.' Existing employees are told that they must quit smoking, or will lose their jobs (Sulzberger 2011: 1).

TOPIC: Research Paper on Employee Grievance Assignment

Critics of the smoker ban have used a slippery slope argument, stating that if employers are allowed to intervene in the lives of employees in this manner, then they will begin to mandate other health-promotion efforts, such as requiring employees to lose weight. However, some workplaces have already enacted weight loss campaigns with a slightly different approach. "Many employers are now paying workers to lose weight, adhere to an exercise plan, and take their medications exactly as prescribed. The theory is that these bonuses will pay for themselves by reducing the costly complications of chronic diseases" (Capretta et al. 2010). More than 40% of U.S. companies currently have obesity-reduction programs, some of which are purely voluntary, others of which are not (Obesity, 2008, Consumer Affairs). And more than half of large companies in the U.S. "offer financial incentives to employees who complete smoking cessation or weight management programs" (Capretta et al. 2010).

The success of such financial incentive programs was corroborated by a New England Journal of Medicine report "that found that paying patients $750 significantly increased their chances of quitting smoking. And in a Journal of the American Medical Association study in 2008, cash rewards made patients more likely to lose weight" (Capretta et al. 2010). Of course, one obvious question is if the numbers back up such claims about the benefits of obesity reduction strategies, financially, for companies. Even if these programs may personally benefit workers in the long run, the argument is that such tactics are unethical and do not yield substantial cost savings for employers.

But research indicates that "obesity is associated with a 36-percent increase in spending on healthcare services, more than smoking or problem drinking" (Obesity, 2008, Consumer Affairs). And "estimates of ROI for wellness programs range from zero to $5 per $1 invested," depending on the program (Obesity, 2008, Consumer Affairs). Cash bonuses seem to be the most effective incentive, in the short-term more so than intangible reward programs, where employees are merely verbally praised for their efforts. Some strategists argue that, calculated ROI aside, all programs "may give companies an edge in recruiting and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Employee Grievance.  (2011, February 27).  Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/employee-grievance/623303

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/employee-grievance/623303.