Employee Wellness Program

The Office of Personnel Management supports health and physical fitness programs and activities for Federal employees because of their relationship to enhancing performance, minimizing absenteeism and other health related problems, and strengthening the Government's ability to recruit and retain
qualified staff.

The Army supports the establishment of installation Fit-to-Win Programs which include health promotion, disease prevention, and physical fitness activities. The Army policy generally places responsibility on employees to use non-duty time, including lunch periods, when participating in health and fitness activities. To the extent possible, employee requests for flexible work schedules and annual leave for personal health and fitness activities should be accommodated. Any physical fitness activities scheduled by the employing organization for employees should be scheduled immediately before or after working hours or during lunch periods.

Short periods of excused absences (not charged to leave) may be granted in limited instances where the health and/or physical fitness activity is being officially sponsored and administered by the organization or installation head, such as Federal Fitness Day events, health screening activities conducted by the base Medical Facility, or a smoking cessation program that might consist of several brief class sessions. In addtion, commanders are authorized to approve up to three hours excused absence per week, under very specific circumstances, to allow employees to participate in command-sponsored formal physical exercise training. In order to qualify for the excused absence, the training program must include pre- and post-program participant evaluation, continuous monitoring during the program, exercise, and nutritional education. In addition, the physical fitness activities must be an integral part of a total fitness program and are time-limited (i.e., up to six months in duration). Normally, this period during which a commander may grant excused absence is intended to be limited to one time only, and employees will not normally be granted excused absence for physical exercise training once they have received such training.

Excused absence should not be granted for participating in an activity over an extended or indefinite period. Where the Army has authorized employees to participate in physical activities in order to help them meet job-related medical standards or physical requirements (such as firefighters), official time, rather than excused absences, should be authorized.

Content last reviewed: 7/10/2009-RJL

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This page was last revised: 7/10/2009