Health and Wellness
At PG&E, we believe that health and wellness are inextricably linked to safety—both for our employees and the public. Employees who are healthy and well in all aspects of their lives are more focused, productive and effective, leading to improved performance and safety for our workforce and communities.
Through benchmarking and adopting best practices from companies in similar industries, PG&E is driving a prevention-first approach that aims to improve employee health by identifying and treating issues before they start. We believe in taking a comprehensive approach to wellness that encompasses physical, emotional and financial health—and our preventive efforts can be seen in all three areas.
Health screenings promote healthy behaviors
By participating in PG&E’s annual health screening program and either being tobacco-free or participating in a tobacco-cessation program, employees can earn credits in a health reimbursement account, which can be used to cover their deductible and pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. In 2015, 89 percent of eligible employees received a health screening—a top decile participation rate.
PG&E’s medical plan and benefits provide comprehensive care and service options designed to promote the overall health of our workforce. With wellness drivers such as employee health screenings, our Tobacco Cessation Program and team competitions to promote active and healthy lifestyles, employees have access to a wide range of options to improve their overall well-being.
Those options include a telephonic health coaching initiative through which employees can work with a dedicated coach to get personalized support for their health goals, as well as a “telemedicine” program that provides the ability to virtually meet with a doctor anytime, anywhere, using a computer or mobile device.
Our Wellness Ambassadors—employees located throughout our service area—help implement and increase awareness of our wellness programs and services.
For employees in our highest-risk positions, we continue to expand our Industrial Athlete Program, a job-specific set of actions designed to reduce injuries and improve the physical and mental resilience of employees working in physically demanding jobs.
Our 24/7 Nurse Report Line provides immediate access to trained medical professionals able to advise employees on how to care for work-related discomforts or injuries, emphasizing our belief that early assessment and treatment are key to recovering and remaining healthy.
Employee health and wellness resources
- Annual health screenings held on-site so employees can conveniently check key health indicators such as body mass index and cholesterol levels
- Telephonic health coaching 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
PG&E’s 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 at their job site, or in the communities where they live.
Additionally, our Peer Volunteer Program promotes a culture of openness, acceptance and recovery, with PG&E employees who are in long-term recovery from substance abuse, or have a loved one who is, assisting others who need help. Run in collaboration with union leadership, the program’s network of peers throughout our service area continues to grow as we work to shed the stigma related to substance abuse and mental health issues.
Financial challenges have the potential to negatively impact one’s health, increase absenteeism and adversely affect on-the-job performance. PG&E provides employees with a wide range of services to help them manage their finances and plan for the future, including free access to a financial advisor, life and accident insurance, and 401(k) and pension retirement plans.
Biking to work improves health and the environment
More than 50 PG&E San Francisco employees pedaled their way to work as part of Bike to Work day. As part of our commitment to clean transportation and employee health, PG&E works to support those who choose to bike to work by providing secure bike parking in the General Office garage and at other PG&E locations.
Highlights included the following:
- Expanded our Industrial Athlete Program. We rolled out the program across PG&E’s service area, beginning with those areas showing the greatest need. The program includes a component based on sports medicine principles and led by an on-site prevention specialist, which focuses on early signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal discomfort, observing work tasks and teaching employees how to avoid aggravating symptoms. Early intervention can stop symptoms from worsening—and even reverse them—helping to shorten periods of discomfort and limitation.
- Piloted an on-site telemedicine kiosk program. Introduced at PG&E’s headquarters in San Francisco, the kiosk asks employees to enter health information and guides them through the process of taking certain vital measurements. Employees are then placed in an online queue to meet virtually with a doctor via video chat.
- 1. Percentage of full-time employees unavailable for work due to long-term or short-term health reasons. Return to table
Over the past five years, PG&E’s programs have reduced the number of employees unable to work due to health-related issues. The increase in workforce availability from 2014 to 2015 is equal to nearly $8.8 million in savings.
What’s more, since introducing our new health plan in 2013, PG&E has seen a consistent improvement in health care cost trends. Prior to the new plan, health care costs from 2008 through 2012 averaged an increase of 8 percent annually, which was above the national average. Since the introduction of the new plan, PG&E’s health care costs from 2013 to 2015 averaged a decrease of 1 percent annually, significantly better than the national average.
PG&E team wins International Ergonomics Competition
In an effort to make employees safer, a group of PG&E electric employees implemented a program to improve ergonomic conditions for PG&E’s linemen. The program gives employees the tools they need to stay safe and healthy, which includes hands-on training, a dynamic warm-up program for industrial workers and the replacement of high-risk tools with more ergonomically-friendly devices. In recognition of their efforts, the team won the 2016 Ergo Cup Competition for Ergonomics Program Improvement.
PG&E continues to hone and expand our services and offerings to help build a healthy and safe workforce. These include:
- Improving access to quality care. PG&E plans to make healthcare more accessible by providing on-site or near-site access to care. Solutions may include a clinic at larger locations, additional kiosks, a mobile van and/or a visiting nurse.
- Providing resources to identify health care Centers of Excellence. PG&E will provide employees with resources to access Centers of Excellence for rare and complex cancers, with plans to add more Centers of Excellence in the future.
- Redesigning our time-off and disability plans. PG&E is revising existing time-off policies and disability plans to ensure they are comprehensive, sustainable and balanced across all job classifications. The changes include competitive short-term disability coverage and an improved paid family leave policy.