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Employee Wellness Program

Section: Personnel: C-32


Chapter 664, Texas Government Code, recognizes the benefit of worksite wellness programs and authorizes state agencies to use funds and facilities for fitness programs. (References)

In cooperation with the Texas Department of State Health Services, the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV or University) has established this policy as the foundation for the University’s Employee Wellness Program. Wellness Program initiatives are intended to address the primary components of a healthy lifestyle including healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco cessation and stress management. Wellness activities are open to all employees; however, participation in some activities will require Supervisor approval. While employee participation is encouraged, it is completely voluntary. Because the program is intended to improve the health and well-being of all employees, employee needs and interests will be considered in the planning and design of wellness activities.

The Benefits/HRMS Manager will serve as the Wellness Program Coordinator and oversee the program. Questions concerning this policy should be referred to the Benefits/HRMS Manager or the Director, HR/AA.

Program Objectives

Primary Goal – The University Wellness Program will focus on improvement of the well-being and productivity of all employees, through enhancement of all aspects of health. The program seeks to increase awareness of positive health behaviors, to motivate employees to voluntarily adopt healthier behaviors and to provide opportunities and a supportive environment to foster positive lifestyle changes. In addition to the benefits for employees, positive benefits are likely to accrue to the families of employees. Employer benefits include lower employee health care costs and happier, more productive employees.

Program Activities and Eligibility Requirements

All employees are encouraged to participate in wellness activities; however, participation in some programs is restricted to full-time benefits eligible employees and requires supervisory approval.

Fitness Release Time Program

Participation is open to full-time, benefits-eligible staff who have successfully completed six (6) months employment.

Employees eligible to participate in the Fitness Release Time Program may request up to 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week, with a maximum of one and one-half (1.5) hours release time per week, for participation in an exercise program or wellness activity:

Supervisors are encouraged to approve employee release time providing participation does not interfere with the employee’s position responsibilities or negatively affect departmental operations.

Abuse of fitness release benefits may make the employee ineligible for further participation and can result in disciplinary action. Please direct questions concerning the Fitness Release Time Program to the Benefits/HRMS Manager.

Reminder: UHV Fitness Release Program provides time off without reduction in pay or benefits for physical fitness activities for up to 30 minutes per day, 3 days per week, for up to a maximum of 1.5 hours weekly. If also participating in the college study work release program, the total release time for both programs is limited to 3 hours per week.

Wellness Leave

Texas Government Code, Chapter 664.061 gives state agencies authority to grant eight (8) hours of additional “wellness leave” annually to full time employees who complete a  Health/Wellness Survey  and receive a routine physical exam by a healthcare provider each year:

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The University of Houston-Victoria currently contracts with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to provide a comprehensive, university-wide Employee Assistance Program. EAP Services include:

The Employee Assistance Program is open to all benefits eligible employees. More information about this program can be found at the UT EAP website. (References)

Corporate Cup Event

The purpose of Corporate Cup is to promote community-wide interest and involvement in fitness and health activities. It also inspires camaraderie among employees, families, and other team members. The University encourages employee participation in the Corporate Cup and will pay for the cost of UHV team sponsorships. To learn more, visit the Corporate Cup website.

Victoria College Sports Center

The Victoria College Sports Center is available for use by all faculty and staff at no cost to the employee. The Sports Center is a place for faculty and staff to get fit, stay healthy and have fun. The Center offers a full weight room facility, aerobics room, gym and locker rooms. Tennis and sand volleyball courts are also available. Some services may not be available to UHV employees. For more information visit the VC website (References)

Use of Facilities and Grounds

Campus Wellness Program activities are expected to normally take place on campus grounds or in facilities owned, leased or rented by the University of Houston-System or University of Houston-Victoria. Available facilities may include classrooms, auditoriums, multi-purpose rooms, and conference and seminar rooms. No modifications to buildings or facilities are anticipated for wellness program activities and campus room reservation policy and procedures should be followed. (References)

Providers of Instruction

Providers of instruction or services for the wellness program may include health educators, nutritionists, mental health professionals, certified fitness instructors and certified instructors in respective fields. Only persons with acceptable credentials will be selected for program activities.

Outside agencies including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, the UHV Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), American Red Cross and Texas Department of State Health Services may be utilized to assist in program presentation and educational services.

Program Content

The Wellness Program consists of activities that include awareness, lifestyle changes, and supportive environment. Depending on the availability of funds and personnel support, the activities may include:


Lifestyle Changes

Program Costs

Most UHV sponsored Wellness Program activities will be offered at no charge or at a nominal cost to the employee.

No university funds may be used to pay for individual memberships to campus or off-campus health clubs, sports leagues or for medical treatment facilities.

Entry fee payment for University sponsored team registrations, other than the Corporate Cup, require the approval of the Executive Committee and should be submitted to Director, HR, EO/Title IX Coordinator

Program Scheduling

Most educational and awareness programs will be offered during normal work hours or during the lunch hour. Departments may plan an educational workshop for the entire department when it is believed that the activity will improve the productivity of the overall employee group. Supervisors are encouraged to allow for participation in programs that are offered during business hours.

Expected Results

Employees who regularly participate in wellness activities should experience noticeable health benefits, better quality of life, lower medical expenses, less absenteeism and higher levels of work productivity.

It is expected employees who utilize the UHV Employee Assistance Program will report satisfaction with those services, and the services were an aid in the elimination or amelioration of personal problems negatively affecting their work performance.

Employee Injury

Employees injured by participating in a Wellness program or activity are not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits unless their participation was in the course and scope of their job duties and employment.

Monitoring and Evaluation of the Program

Annual Progress Report - A summary progress report of the program will be provided to the Executive Committee by December 31st of each year for previous fiscal year activities.

Time and Effort Reporting (Timesheets)


Approved by:

Signature Obtained________             1/4/18______________
Raymond V. Morgan, Ph.D.                 Date

Origination: Human Resources Department
Next Review Date: December, 2020