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Fitness Release Time and Wellness Leave Policy

A new Interim Fitness Release Time and Wellness Leave policy, MAPP 02.02.08, has been established to support University of Houston employees in their efforts to improve their health and well-being, and to enhance their work performance and productivity.  The policy is in accordance with the State Employees Health Fitness and Education Act of 1983.

The Fitness Release Time (FRT) policy provides full-time, benefits-eligible employees who have been with the University a minimum of three months from date of hire up to thirty (30) minutes, three times per week, to participate in approved fitness activities offered on the University of Houston Main Campus.  The FRT policy may not interfere with an employee’s duties or a department’s responsibilities.  Supervisor approval is required before an employee may commence any activity under the program.  All time (1.5 hours per week) taken under the policy must be recorded in the Time Reporting and Absence Management (TRAM) system.

The Wellness Leave portion of the policy provides a wellness incentive of eight (8) hours leave to eligible employees who complete an approved Health Risk Assessment and receive an annual comprehensive physical exam.  The wellness leave may be used for any purpose as two half-days or one full day off.  Wellness leave time must be scheduled with supervisor’s approval and cannot be used in conjunction with the College Release Program.

To learn more about eligibility for these programs, requirements for participation and procedures for application, please review the policy MAPP 02.02.08 in its entirety, as well as the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) sections on this webpage before requesting Fitness Release Time and/or Wellness Leave.

Application Procedure for Fitness Release Time (FRT)

To qualify for FRT, an eligible employee must complete the FRT Application and the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.  Please note that, in some cases, additional documentation such as Medical Clearance may be requested.

To request Fitness Release Time, the following steps must be completed:

  1. Print the FRT Application requesting up to thirty (30) minutes, three times per week to participate in POWER UP-approved physical fitness activities on the University of Houston Main Campus.  Complete the form identifying the activities in which you plan to engage as well as the days and times. Discuss the request with your supervisor to determine if the leave is possible.  If so, obtain his/her signature to verify approval of the requested leave for the semester. 
  2. If your supervisor approves the request, print and complete the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) form. You should then scan and email both forms (FRT Application & PAR-Q) to Human Resources at POWERUP@uh.edu. If the request is denied by your supervisor, you may not use Fitness Release Time that semester.
  3. Please answer the questions on the PAR-Q honestly.  If you answer “Yes” to one or more of the questions on the PAR-Q, you will be asked to obtain a Medical Clearance form from your primary care physician indicating clearance to participate in the exercise program/physical fitness activity you have selected.  This form should also be emailed to HR, along with your FRT Application and PAR-Q.
  4. If all requirements are met, your application will be approved by HR, which in turn will notify you and your supervisor. Please retain copies of the FRT Application, PAR-Q, etc. for your records. The original forms will remain on file with Human Resources.
  5. Remember, you must request the time off for FRT for each thirty (30) minute session via the TRAM Absence Request form. (Note: If you are an hourly employee, you must clock out and clock back in when taking FRT>
    To do this, access PASS,

      Select Absence Requests

    • enter Start Date
    • under Filter by Type – select Paid Release Time
    • under Absence Name – select CDV Fitness Release Time
    • enter an End Date
    • under Partial Days - select All Days (If days are not sequential, you will need to submit an Absence Request for each day.)
    • Enter .5 Hours
    • Click Calculate Duration
    • Make any comments
    • Click Submit

Remember, if days are not sequential, you must submit an Absence Request for each day.

        6. Remember, if you are an hourly employee, you must clock out and clock back in for each 30 minute period you take.

        7. Your supervisor must approve the time in TRAM. FRT must not exceed thirty (30) minutes, three times per week.

Fitness Release Time FAQs

No. While these are excellent offerings and supervisors are encouraged to allow employees to attend such wellness programs when possible, this policy only applies to physical fitness activities on campus.

Application Procedure for Wellness Leave

To qualify for the Wellness Leave incentive, an eligible employee must complete an approved online Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and receive an annual comprehensive physical exam.  Please note that while annual physical exams are considered preventive care and are typically covered by one’s insurance plan, you may be responsible for out-of-pocket expenses related to the appointment(s), such as fees charged for additional screens, tests and/or co-pays.

To request Wellness Leave, the following steps must be completed:

  1. Complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA), also known as a Health Assessment (HA) or Health Survey. 
    1. BCBSTX HealthSelect members should register for a BlueAccess for Members account, https://healthselect.bcbstx.com/.  Once your account is created, log on and click on the Well On Target tab under “quick links” on the right side. Next, create your Well On Target (WOT) account.  Once your account is created, you will be prompted to take the HA.  Once you complete the HA, you can click on “certificates” from the menu drop down and email a certification of completion to POWERUP@uh.edu. It will have your name and the date on it.  You can also send a scanned copy of your HA completion email instead.
    2. KelseyCare members should complete the KelseyCare Health Survey located at erskelseycare.com under “Self Service”.  You can access it directly here: https://www.erskelseycare.com/self-service/health-risk-assessment/.  Upon completion of the health survey, you will receive a health survey completion email.  Save the email to submit along with the required affidavit (once completed) to POWERUP@uh.edu to complete the application process.
  1. Upon completion of the HRA, you may receive a personalized report. If so, you may want to print and bring it with you to review with your doctor during your physical exam.  Please note: Do not share the personalized report with your supervisor or HR. Upon completion of the HRA, you will receive a HRA completion email (the completion email is not the same thing as your personalized report). The completion email provides verification that you completed the HRA.  To verify that you have completed the HRA, click on “certificates” from the menu drop down and email it to POWERUP@uh.edu – or you send a copy of the completion email instead.  You will need to submit verification of completion of the HRA in one of these two ways along with your affidavit as part of the application process.
  2. Print the Completed HRA and Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Exam Affidavit and complete the “Health Risk Assessment Certification” section.  
  3. Using sick, vacation or compensatory leave, schedule your physical exam with your doctor’s office.  When you schedule your appointment, ask the physician’s office staff to make note that you will need the physician to sign the designated section of the “Completed HRA and Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Examination Affidavit.”  Be sure to bring the printed form with you.  It will be helpful to provide the office staff with the form when you check in for your appointment.
  4. Before going to your appointment, review the feedback you received from your HRA so that you can discuss it with your physician.  Make notes so you don’t forget.  Before you leave your appointment, be sure that your physician has signed the “Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Exam” section of the Completed HRA and Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Exam Affidavit.
  5. Inform your supervisor of having met the qualifications for Wellness Leave and obtain the supervisor’s signature on the Affidavit.  Remember, you are not required to nor should you share with your supervisor or HR any personal medical information from your HRA or physician’s visit.  Only the documentation listed here should be submitted to HR.
  6. Review the affidavit to ensure that it is complete. Then, scan and email and the Completed Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Exam Affidavit to HR.  Both of these fully completed documents must be submitted to HR via POWERUP@uh.edu to complete the application process for Wellness Leave.
  7. HR will review the documentation and, if all requirements are met, will notify you and your supervisor via email of your successful completion of the requirements for eight (8) hours wellness leave.  The notification will provide guidance for both the employee and supervisor in regard to how the leave should be processed.

Wellness Leave FAQs               

What is an approved Health Risk Assessment (HRA)?  
A health risk assessment, also known as a health assessment or health survey, is a brief wellness tool used to provide individuals with an evaluation of their individual health risks and quality of life. 

Where can I find the approved HRA? 

 

BCBSTX HealthSelect

To access your new BCBSTX HealthSelect health risk assessment, there are two websites where you must create accounts.

  1. Blue Access for Members: Where you can access all your insurance info.
  2. Well On Target: Contains all BCBS wellness offerings (including the HRA).

 Here are the steps to creating these accounts. See attached screen shots to help navigate the process.
  • Blue Access for Members (BAM) account link:https://healthselect.bcbstx.com/ 
  • Click the “log in” tab in the upper right corner.
  • Next, click “New User? Register Now” and create an account. (You will need your member ID from your insurance card in order to create an account).
  • Once you are on the home page of the BAM website, click on the Well On Target tab under “quick links” on the right side.
  • Create your Well On Target (WOT) account.
  • After you create a WOT account, you will be prompted to take the HA.
  • Once you complete the HA, you can click on “certificates” from the menu drop down and print a certification of completion to send to POWERUP@uh.edu. It will have your name on it.

KelseyCare

The KelseyCare Health Survey is located at www.erskelseycare.com under “Self Service:  You can access it directly here: https://www.erskelseycare.com/self-service/health-risk-assessment/

What do I do after I complete the HRA? 
After completion of the HRA, employees should print their personalized results report (if available to print) to share with their doctor during their Comprehensive Physical Exam.  Also, after completing the HRA, employees will receive a HRA completion email (the completion email is not the same thing as the personalized results report).  This email should be saved and copied for your records and then scanned and sent to HR along with the Completed Health Risk Assessment and Physician’s Certification of Routine Physical Exam Affidavit. These two documents are required to qualify for the Wellness Leave incentive.

Members of KelseyCare who complete their online Health Risk Assessment will receive a confirmation email shortly after indicating that the health survey has been completed.  BCBSTX HealthSelect members will receive a confirmation email as well, but will have the option of submitting a completion certificate instead.

Your HRA confirmation email/certificate should be scanned and emailed to HR with your completed Affidavit to qualify for and request Wellness Leave.

I have insurance through my spouse and don’t have either of the health plans listed. Am I still eligible to take advantage of the FRT and Wellness Leave Policy?  If so, what HRA should I complete?
Yes, you may still apply for and receive FRT and Wellness Leave provided all policy requirements have been met.  Most insurance carriers provide employees with an online Health Risk Assessment.  Once you complete it, you should receive a confirmation email that you can submit to HR to verify that you have completed it.  However, in the event that you may not, you may want to take a screenshot of the last page of the HRA that clearly shows that you have completed the health survey.  Should you not receive the confirmation email, you can instead scan and submit the completion screenshot to HR, along with the completed Affidavit.

Do I need to submit the results from my HRA or Comprehensive Physical Exam to HR?
No.  Please do NOT provide HR with any medical information.  No personal medical information should be shared with your supervisor or HR for the purpose of this policy.  The HRA completion email and the Affidavit do not ask for and should not contain any personal medical information.

What is a Comprehensive Physical Exam? 
The Comprehensive Physical Exam is a customized exam that includes a medical history, physical examination, wellness counseling and screening tests based on the patient’s health status, risk factors, and personal and family history.

What purpose does the Health Risk Assessment and Comprehensive Physical Exam serve?
The HRA is an evaluation tool that provides an employee insight into personal health risks and provides recommendations to promote health, sustain function and/or prevent disease.  The annual Comprehensive Physical Exam is a vital part of preventative health care and overall wellness.  Taking it is an important step to help prevent illnesses, injuries and other health issues that may arise in the future.  This new interim policy is designed to support employees in their efforts to prevent disease and improve/maintain good health and overall well-being.

Do I have to get my physical within a certain timeframe in order to receive this benefit?

Yes, wellness leave is awarded once per calendar year.  Therefore, you should receive your physical in the year you are applying for wellness leave.  The 8 hours leave awarded must then be used within the current year/the year it is awarded, between 1/1 – 12/20.

How do I record my time off for the exam? 
Employees should use sick leave for the purposes of receiving their Comprehensive Physical Exam.  Vacation or compensatory time may also be used.

Can I take the time whenever I want
The 8 hours Wellness Leave must be taken within the year it is awarded, between 1/1 – 12/20.   It cannot be used in conjunction with the College Release Program.  Scheduling of Wellness Leave must be done with your supervisor’s approval.

After I confer with my supervisor and receive approval to use the incentive on a particular day/s, how do I record my time off?  
When you claim your eight (8) hours Wellness Leave incentive, you may take the time in two blocks of four (4) hours or one block of eight (8) hours.  You will use the same instructions provided above for Fitness Release Time; instead of selecting Absence Name “CDV Fitness Release Time,” you will select “Wellness Leave.”

(For Supervisors) If my employee is approved for Wellness Leave, will I be notified?  How will the time be awarded and tracked? 
Yes.  You and the employee will both receive notification of the Wellness Leave incentive award.  Please note, for Wellness Leave, that the 8 hours awarded can be taken in 1 full day or 2 half days with the supervisor’s approval.  Also, please be aware that Peoplesoft will not automatically track balances for Wellness Leave. Therefore, it is required that the supervisor keep track of the employee’s balances of the leave for the incentive.

 If you have additional questions regarding the Interim Fitness Release Time and Wellness Leave Policy, please contact Human Resources Customer Service at 713 743-3988, or email us at POWERUP@uh.edu.