Health at work: who helps and how

This is what companies, health and pension funds do for the health of working people

How do employers support their employees?

Computer glasses: They enable you to see clearly from a distance of at least 50 centimeters. The employer bears the costs - provided the ophthalmologist prescribes the glasses. An eye examination must have shown that the visual aid is necessary.

Good to know: Since the employer pays for the PC glasses, they belong to him. The employee may only use them in the workplace. If, on the other hand, he has contributed to the costs, for example because he has chosen a special frame, then he can also wear the glasses in his free time.

Risk assessment: By law, employers must protect their employees from dangers, avoid accidents and maintain their health. To do this, they have to carry out a so-called hazard test. It is not only about the risks involved in using machines or working shifts, but also about psychological stress.

Health promotion: employers can spend up to 500 euros per employee on this per year.This amount is tax-free. There are countless possibilities, for example health days, sports activities, nutritional advice, courses on smoking cessation or stress management - often in cooperation with health insurance companies. Healthy eating in the canteen is also part of it.

The course costs in a sports club or fitness studio can also be covered. The following applies: The providers of the courses must meet special quality criteria and be health insurance certified. General takeovers or subsidies for membership fees in sports clubs and fitness studios are not tax-free.

Company doctor: Every company that employs employees must be supported by an employed or external occupational physician. He advises on topics relating to occupational safety, design and health promotion. He is also the point of contact for chronically ill employees and helps with reintegration management if an employee has been sick for more than six weeks a year.

Since 2015, company doctors have also been allowed to vaccinate - provided the Pikser protects against job-related infection risks, for example when traveling abroad. Vaccinations against flu and measles are also included.

What do health insurances offer?

Electrically height-adjustable desk: cash registers subsidize it with up to 1200 euros. Contact persons are also the pension insurance, the employer's liability insurance association or the employment agency. Application requirements: a medical certificate and the consent of the employer.

Health promotion: exercise, healthy nutrition, stress reduction and addiction prevention are the focus. Large health insurance companies often have their own courses that are free of charge or require up to 20 percent additional payment. Smaller insured health insurance providers can choose offers on site, but they have to be certified. There is an upper limit for the grant, which is usually between 75 and 100 euros. Be sure to ask your health insurance company in advance.

Offers at the workplace: Many health insurance companies support programs in companies as part of workplace health promotion. For example, they organize health days or employee training courses on request. Team meetings or management seminars are intended to prevent psychological hazards.

Bonus programs: Those who have preventive medical check-ups and take health courses collect points which, depending on the fund, can be exchanged for cash, material or subsidy rewards.

How does the pension insurance help?

In-service prevention: This is aimed at employees who are permanently burdened by too little exercise and stress and who want to take countermeasures at an early stage. You may already have problems with blood pressure, weight, or your back. Psychological impairments are also included, but they do not yet have any disease value.

The company or works doctor, a resident doctor or a rehabilitation doctor can create a corresponding report with which an application can be submitted. Anyone who pays or is a member of the pension scheme can benefit from this offer.

Individual offers: The "Fit at work - stay active and healthy" program runs for several months. At the beginning there is a health check in a rehabilitation facility of the German Pension Insurance, after which an individual program is worked out.

This is followed by a training phase in which you practice once or twice a week in the rehab center. Refresher days help to continue what you have learned. The offers are aimed at a maximum of 15 participants per group.

At www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de under "Prevention" there is a list of regional offers.