S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N S E N A T E
January 24, 2013
Introduced by Sen. SMITH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Health
AN ACT to establish a task force on occupational wellness and providing
for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature hereby
finds that healthier employees experience less absenteeism, greater
productivity, better mental performance, and increased job satisfaction,
performance and morale.
The legislature hereby finds that occupational wellness programs and
preventative health strategies directly address the leading causes of
disability and premature death in the United States. Furthermore, the
vital importance of this issue was recently crystallized by the United
States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who earmarked
$14 million to study occupational wellness programs.
The legislature hereby finds that there is a significant state inter-
est in encouraging a proactive approach to preventing illness and inju-
ry, as opposed to the traditional reactive, sick-care method. A reorien-
tation of our systematic approach to health care is exemplified by
United States Senate Bill 2558, the Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention
(HeLP) Act and New York State Senate Bill 5774-A of 1999-2000, The Well-
ness and Preventative Health Care Program.
The legislature hereby finds that individual studies and evaluations
of wellness programs have concluded that such endeavors have dual, rein-
forcing, and parallel benefits. In the first instance, employees have
become more fit, reduced obesity, lessened stress levels, quit smoking,
and achieved other propitious outcomes. Secondarily, wellness programs
have increased overall productivity, economic viability, and reduced
health care costs relative to employers.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 2880 2
The legislature hereby finds that encouragement of a healthy life-
style, while accruing concrete benefits to employees and employers
alike, in the final analysis -- empowers individuals, strengthens fami-
lies, and promotes a greater quality of life.
The legislature intends to ensconce the ethic of a healthy workforce
into the fabric of our personal and professional lives, while realizing
the tertiary benefits of savings on insurance premiums as the result of
reducing the number and instance of health insurance and workers'
compensation claims filed by employees.
S 2. Task force on occupational wellness. 1. There is hereby created
within the department of health a task force on occupational wellness.
The task force shall consist of nine members to be appointed as follows:
three members to be appointed by the governor, including one represen-
tative each from the department of health and the insurance department
and a representative who is a small business owner; two members to be
appointed by the speaker of the assembly; one member to be appointed by
the minority leader of the assembly; two members to be appointed by the
temporary president of the senate and one member to be appointed by the
minority leader of the senate. The member from the department of health
shall serve as the director of the task force and the commissioner of
health may assign such personnel within the amounts appropriated as is
necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Task force
members shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be
reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in the performance of their
2. The task force shall study and evaluate the existing state of
employees' health and ascertain if the health of employees can be
improved by employers implementing an occupational wellness program.
3. On or before January 1, 2015, the task force shall prepare and
submit to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the
speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the senate and the
minority leader of the assembly a report which shall include, but not be
(a) information on whether the creation of occupational wellness
programs encouraging or providing incentives for employees who regularly
engage in physical activity and preventive health care would be benefi-
cial to the citizens of the state of New York;
(b) recommendations regarding how occupational wellness programs can
(c) examining the concept of occupational wellness as a whole, includ-
ing the history of such concept, where and how it has worked and the
costs and implications of such programs; and
(d) creating a blueprint of the best practices of wellness, how to
implement such practices and what steps need to be taken to realize the
concept of occupational wellness in practice.
S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law provided that the provisions of this act
shall expire September 1, 2015 when upon such date the provisions of
this act shall be deemed repealed; provided, however, that effective
immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regu-
lation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective
date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before
such effective date.