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Wellness programs cut costs for firms, foster productive employees

Businesses benefit from healthy staff members - as absenteeism declines, productivity improves.

Businesses benefit from healthy staff members – as absenteeism declines, productivity improves. As a result, many firms are using employee incentive programs to get workers to the doctor's office or the gym.

According to new research from the National Business Group on Health, the amount companies are willing to cover on employee premiums in exchange for good health is increasing to nearly 10 percent.

Additionally, the number of large firms implementing employee rewards programs for wellness is also rising – from 27 percent in 2011 to 41 percent this year, MarketWatch reports.

"We know health equals productivity and productivity equals better business results," David Kasiarz, senior vice president of Global Compensation and Benefits at American Express, told the news source. He added that wellness programs also help to reduce healthcare costs over the long-term for businesses.

Wellness programs take many shapes and forms, and may include quantitative goals or be based on a desire to get staff members moving.

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