The Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) issued a proposed rule amending Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to allow employers to offer financial incentives and inducements to spouses as part of a wellness program. The rule proposed on Oct. 30, 2015 is currently open for public comment.

The proposed regulations would clarify that GINA does not prohibit employers from offering limited inducements for the provision by spouses of information about their current or past health status as part of an HRA. This may include a medical questionnaire, a medical examination (e.g. to detect high blood pressure or high cholesteral) or both. However, the provision of genetic information must be voluntary with written authorization.

The EEOC further proposes to add a requirement that any health or genetic services in connection with which an employer requests genetic information be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease. This addition will make the revised GINA regulations consistent with the proposed rule amending the ADA’s regulations as they relate to wellness programs, which permits employers to collect medical information as part of a wellness program only if the program are reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease.

This proposal would not alter the absolute prohibition against the use of genetic information in making employment decisions.

There are 6 substantive changes to the GINA regulations. Click here to read through those changes.

The EEOC invites the public to comment on the proposed regulation amendment.