Health and Wellness

88% Percentage of eligible workforce that received a health screening during our 2013–2014 campaign, placing PG&E in the top quartile

As we focus on providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers, we recognize that much of our employees’ day-to-day work involves physically demanding tasks. It’s critical that we take steps to help keep our people healthy and fit. Over the past several years, we’ve implemented major changes to our health and wellness programs, all of which aim to keep our employees healthier to serve our local communities.

Our Approach

Since 2010, an integrated Health and Productivity department has overseen PG&E’s health and wellness programs, with the goal of improving the overall well-being and resiliency of our employees. Using a holistic and data-driven approach to wellness, PG&E’s leadership has been able to better analyze and understand the drivers of employee health and wellness and respond with targeted solutions. As a result, we go beyond offering programs that solely support our employees’ physical well-being. We also offer programs to support our employees’ emotional and financial health because these stresses often contribute to a decline in physical health.

Physical Health: Medical Plan Promotes Health and Quality Care

As a centerpiece of our efforts, we worked collaboratively with a broad set of stakeholders—including union leadership; our own human-resource experts; employees; and outside medical experts—to develop a new medical plan designed to improve overall workforce health. In 2013, we completed the rollout and the plan is now in effect for all active employees.

The plan, which emphasizes preventive care and wellness, better leverages our ability to purchase higher quality care, and focuses on free primary and preventive services such as health screenings for early detection of serious disease risks.

We also continue to offer customized programs for our field workforce. For example, our Industrial Athlete Program focuses on preventing injuries and improving mental and physical resilience among linemen, gas service representatives and utility workers.

Emotional Health: Professional Counseling and Personal Solutions

Our Employee Assistance Program offers employees options to help them manage life’s demands at work and at home, from confidential counseling to referrals for local services—whether by telephone, with counselors on-site or in the communities where they live.

We also engage the help of employee volunteers to help support peers who are seeking to change behaviors. For example, our Peer Volunteer Program, in collaboration with union leadership, assists with substance abuse recovery. Additionally, our Wellness Ambassadors—located throughout our service area—pursue a rigorous health and wellness curriculum and learn about tools and tips to share with co-workers.

Financial Health: Life Insurance and Retirement Programs

Distress over financial matters can have a negative effect on health. To assist our employees with managing their financial future and providing for their families should the unthinkable happen, we offer a number of programs and resources, including life and accident insurance, 401k and pension retirement plans.

Employee Health and Wellness Resources
  • Health advocacy services to help employees navigate the complex health care system
  • Annual health screenings on-site at larger PG&E locations, as well as a concierge service, so employees can conveniently check key health indicators
  • Health coaching by phone for one-on-one support to help employees meet their health goals
  • An extensive online health and wellness portal with calorie trackers, meal and exercise plans and other resources
  • A tobacco-free program providing one-on-one support with a certified tobacco cessation specialist
  • Gym discounts for employees and their family members
  • A confidential, online health risk questionnaire offering personalized recommendations on how to best maintain or improve health

By taking an annual health screening, employees can earn credits in a health reimbursement account that can be used to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. During the 2013–2014 campaign, about 88 percent of the eligible workforce received a health screening, placing PG&E in the top quartile for participation rates compared with other companies that offer health screenings. Additionally, if employees participate in our tobacco-free program, they can cover their entire deductible each year.

2013 Milestones

In 2013, we continued efforts to empower employees to make healthier choices and increase participation in the programs and services we offer. Highlights include:

  • Completing the rollout of a new medical plan. The new plan is in effect for all active employees and integrates more incentives for employees to take advantage of wellness opportunities and focus on quality preventive care.
  • Reduced healthcare costs. We reduced the cost of medical care per employee by 6 percent, with no increase in premium costs to employees. This compares with an average annual cost increase of 9 percent per PG&E employee in the prior five years.
  • Piloted new specialized wellness programs. Building on the Industrial Athlete Program’s success, we introduced a pilot in 2013 that brings in athletic trainers to assess early signs of discomfort, observe body mechanics in the field and promote self-care techniques for employees in high-risk jobs. We also launched a pilot to provide employees experiencing musculoskeletal discomfort with access to healthcare professionals to encourage early recognition and treatment.

PG&E was recognized by the American Heart Association as a “fit-friendly worksite” for creatively implementing programs to promote physical activity in the workplace and community.

Measuring Progress

Over the past four years, PG&E has seen a steady increase in workers’ availability due to health issues. The increase in workforce productivity is equal to 550 employees working full-time all year, representing nearly $53 million in savings.

Workforce Unavailable Due to Health
1 Percentage of full-time employees unavailable for work either due to long-term or short-term health reasons.

PG&E’s new health plan offers free primary care and preventive services, including health screenings for early detection of serious health risks. As a result, in 2013 inpatient hospital days were reduced by 22 percent, emergency room visits by 6 percent and specialty office visits by 7 percent for management, administrative and technical employees.

Looking Ahead

In our multi-year strategy, PG&E remains focused on further improving the health and resilience of our workforce by continuing to:

  • Focus on preventive care and provide financial incentives for employees to make healthier choices
  • Expand innovative pilot initiatives, such as our Industrial Athlete Program
  • Collaborate with union leadership on approaches that reduce the risk of injuries
  • Expand on-site care and access to wellness resources through health coaching and fitness classes
  • Provide Centers of Excellence—hospitals or medical center facilities recognized for providing the highest quality of care for high-risk conditions such as complex and rare cancers for PG&E employees and their families that are part of the medical plan

In 2014, the Integrated Benefits Institute, the leading workforce and productivity research and measurement organization, honored PG&E with its Health and Business Performance Award. The award recognizes an employer that has demonstrated outstanding work in the field of health, productivity and business performance.

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