Funding for workplace wellbeing

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FUNDING is now available to help ACT small businesses encourage their employees to be happier and healthier.

Starting today, small businesses with up to 50 employees can apply for grants of $1000, $3000 or $5000 under the ACT Small Business Workplace Health and Wellbeing Incentive Program.

The amount of funding depends on the number of employees in the workplace.

The money can be used to start new workplace health programs or expand existing ones, as long as they target one of four key areas: increased physical activity; healthy eating; smoking and drinking less; and improved social and emotional wellbeing.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said that encouraging employees to look after their health could make businesses more productive and more attractive to potential new employees.

“This particular initiative is targeting small workplaces in particular as some of the bigger workplaces already have the funds to put in place initiatives to help their staff be fitter and healthier,” Mr McCabe said.

“There’s a lot of Australian and international research that shows healthier workers are actually more productive and safer in the workplace. … they also take less time off work.”

Mr McCabe said the incentive program came out of a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and the ACT Government, part of a growing focus on preventive health.

“This is a recognition that the cost of health to our community is just growing enormously,” he said.

“It’s consuming bigger and bigger percentages of federal and state budgets, and the Commonwealth has clearly decided it needs to get ahead of the game rather than just funding more hospital beds and building more hospitals.”

The program will be managed by Healthier Work, the ACT Government’s workplace health support service. To be eligible for the funding, employers must have been visited by an Industry Advisor from Healthier Work in the six months prior to applying.

Applications close on Friday, April 12.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Healthier Work website at www.healthierwork.act.gov.au. To arrange a workplace visit from an Industry Advisor, please call 6205 1596 or email healthierwork@act.gov.au.

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