The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published long-awaited final regulations on the permissible use of voluntary corporate wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The final rules, which make minor changes to the agency’s original proposals, including some changes made in response to written comments filed by NT Lakis lawyers, allow employers to offer financial and other incentives to encourage employee participation in such programs without violating the ADA or GINA, so long as their effect is not coercive.

More specifically, the rules limit the value of such incentives to not exceed the equivalent of 30 percent of the cost of health insurance coverage — either individual (“self-only”) coverage (under the ADA) or individual, spousal, and dependent coverage (under GINA).

The final rules apply to all employer wellness programs that ask for disability-related or genetic information.  In addition, while programs that do not ask for such information are not subject to the rules, they still must be made available to all employees on a nondiscriminatory basis and “must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.”

The EEOC’s new ADA and GINA wellness regulations go into effect 60 days after their publication, or on July 17, 2016, but employers are not required to bring their wellness programs into compliance until January 2017 at the earliest.

Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.