By Lisa Grenfell, Member Engagement Manager, Wellness Council of Wisconsin

Fitness reimbursement has been noted as a mainstay employee perk. In fact, over 70 percent of Wellness Council of Wisconsin (WCWI) member employers are offering some form of support to employees for gym membership and/or specialty fitness needs, according to the December 2016 WCWI Member Poll.

With today’s wellness topics like autonomy, incentives, technology, and dependents; how confident are you that the reimbursement is structured to fit your employees’ needs and interests?

Wellness Council Infographic

Based on the December 2016 WCWI Member Poll, it’s evident that one size doesn’t fit all. In fact, 55 percent of the participating employers support their employees with a partial reimbursement of a gym membership or class fee. Additionally, onsite initiatives continue to remain a steadfast notion to support employees with 33 percent of employers stating they offer free onsite gym or fitness classes.

WCWI captured various strategies that Wisconsin employers are using to integrate fitness reimbursement into their culture. Here’s a glimpse of what WCWI found:

Partial Payment | Incentivized

  • Reimbursement is based on attendance: 20 visits – $90/quarter, 25 visits – $120/quarter, 30 visits – $150/quarter.
  • We reimburse 100 percent of sign up fees and 50 percent of all gym membership, class fees, personal trainers, etc. No limits!

Point Based

  • We will be adding the capability to earn points via the IncentFit program, an app for attending a gym and/or linking a wearable to our wellness program.
  • We offer free courses on various health and functional fitness topics. Members that participate in our program also qualify for reward points that can earn them between $250-500.

Health Care Provider

  • It’s administered through our insurance program and needs to be on their pre-approved list of locations (due to tracking).

Discounts with Local Gym

  • We have two local gyms who give our staff “discounts” on memberships and we promote that. However, our organization does not pay any money towards those gyms since we offer our own equipment/space for use for free.


  • We offer a membership to access our on-site gym in our corporate headquarters. Membership is $5 per pay period, i.e. $130 annually.
  • Onsite gym and fitness classes at no charge; plus up to $500 annual reimbursement for each family member enrolled in health plan.


  • We partner with two different fitness facilities in our area that offer discounts, and we pay a portion of the monthly premium. We also offer to those that want to join a different facility an annual $150 reimbursement with either 6 months of receipts or a copy of their contract.
  • We have an onsite fitness center that employees can use for free. We also offer a $50/month reimbursement for health club fees and fitness classes for a total of $600/year.

The remaining strategies and sample tools can be found in WCWI’s Well Practices, archived resources of best practices from Wisconsin organizations who are building results-oriented wellness programs.