The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) once again recently revised its timetable to issue new proposed rules on permissible wellness incentives under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These regulations were originally to be released in January, then pushed to June, and are now slated to be released in December 2019.
This delay is very likely attributable to the status of the EEOC’s membership. The bipartisan EEOC is comprised of a Chair, Vice Chair, three Commissioners and a General Counsel, each appointed by the President. The EEOC had been operating without a quorum since January of this year. On May 15, 2019, the new Chair, Janet Dhillon, was sworn in, yet there are still three other vacancies to be filled. It is possible that the wellness rules will continue to be delayed.
It is also important to note that a comment period will follow the issuance of the proposed rules. The EEOC will then need time to consider the comments received before issuing a final rule. Therefore, it could be another year or more before final regulations are issued.
In the meantime, employers may continue to offer incentives to employees who participate in wellness programs. However, they should carefully consider the size of incentives for wellness programs that ask for health information or involve medical exams.
Reach out to your Hylant health strategist or a Hylant representative for any questions regarding your wellness program incentive structure.