Regulations regarding wellness benefits at KI

According to World Health Organization, WHO, physical inactivity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases. Increasing physical activity is crucial in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Wellness benefits at KI in brief

Karolinska Institutet offers the following generous benefits:

  • free access to modern campus facilities and outdoor tennis courts
  • annual wellness allowance of 1500 SEK
  • one weekly wellness hour (immediate supervisor may temporarily approve additional time)

KI Health Promotion offers online activities, such as drop-in classes, online-coaching and digital courses in ACT and MBSR. We also offer Physical Activity on Prescription, which in combination with MI (Motivational Interviewing) is en evidence-based method to promote physical activity.

Reference number: 1-338/2021

Previous version: 1-261/2019

Validity period: From 2021-04-06 until further notice

Decision: President

Document type: Regulations

Handled by department/unit: HR Office

Revision with regard to: extended use of the wellness allowance and a new letter regarding the wellness hour

As one of the world's foremost medical universities and as a public sector employer, KI has a great responsiblity to promote daily physical activity among employees and students. On-campus facilities, Physical activity on Prescription, Wellness allowance and Wellness hour are some of the actions taken to facilitate regular physical activity. These initiatives together constitute important steps towards a more active society.

The revised regulations ( Dnr 1-338/2021) came into force 2021-04-06.

Wellness allowance

The primary purpose of the wellness allowance is to stimulate and inspire to regular and recurring physical activity.  According to Swedish tax regulations the wellness allowance is regarded as a tax-free employee benefit, if it meets certain requirements. For more information, please visit the Swedish Tax Agency website.

Rules at KI

The wellness allowance is offered to employees only, including those on parental leave and temporary employees.
The maximum amount is 1500 SEK per employee and calendar year.
It is not possible to receive reimbursement for same activity before expiry date of that particular activity.
The allowance is proportional to hours worked.

Affiliated researchers, grant-funded jobs or those on leave of absence or retirement pension are not entitled to the health promotion reimbursement.

Approved activities

  • Gymcards, course fees, punch cards, single tickets for physical activities (such as gymnastics, aerobics, strentgh training, climbing, ball sports, martial arts, horseback riding, sailing and skiing)  Body-mind activities such as yoga, qi gong and tai chi are included. 
  • Cloud based apps and web applications aimed at physical activity and exercise: 

Online exercise programs aimed at physical training for example yoga, HIIT, circuit training 
Registration services for running or walking tracks promenad- och löprundor. 
Fitness tracker apps, such as step tracking and heart rate monitor apps

On-campus facilities

The purpose of the facilities is to provide conditions for regular short physical activity breaks in a learning and supportive environment. KI provides campusgym facilities on each main campus where employees and students may attend classes, workshops and courses.  

Access rules 

  • KI employees, including affiliates and scholarship holders as well as KI students, have access to the facilities 
  • KI employees, including affiliates and scholarship holders as well as KI students, must be able to show a valid KI access card and follow the rules issued by KI Health Promotion KI employees, including affiliates and scholarship holders as well as KI students, have free access to instructor-led exercise classes run by KI Health Promotion 
  • Affiliates have access to workshops and courses if places are available. Any additional activities in the facilities require approval issued by the Team leader at KI Health Promotion or Head of Unit or Head of Office at the HR Office. 
  • No commercial activities are allowed without approval issued by the Team leader at KI Health Promotion or Head of Unit or Head of Office at the HR Office. 

Wellness hour

The purpose of the wellness hour at work is to provide opportunities for a sustainable work life, where active recovery and physical activity ar natural part of a balanced week and a healthy lifestyle.
KI employees, who are employed at least 50% of full time, are entitled, if work management allows, to spend one hour of their workweek on health and wellness activities. If necessary, manager may temporary approve additional time.
The total time amounts to one hour per week.
The wellness hour should be planned and adapted according to the needs of the employee in agreement with the manager. 
Activities may consist of walks, on-campus exercise or active breaks organised by KI Health Promotion or Health Promoters.
The wellness hour is optional for the employee and the hour of activity is conducted without management, why occupational injury insurance in exceptional cases.

Rules

  • The wellness hour is aimed at employees, not students, at KI
  • The wellness hour may be divided into parts, no less than 10 minutes
  • The wellness hour should be established by immediate supervisor
  • The employee must be employed at least 50 % of full time
  • Physical Activity on Prescription at work (FaR®)
  • Physical Activity on Prescription (PAP) is an evidence-based method to promote health and prevent disease. The purpose of Physical Activity on Prescription at work is to support treatment or part of treatment to prevent or reduce sickness absence as well as facilitate return to work after sick leave.

Rules at KI 

  • PAP is aimed at employees and do not include affiliates or students 
  • PAP must be prescibed by licensed health care professionals 
  • PAP entitles to one PAP hour a week/employee during a maximum of 3 months, provided that the hour is taken following a consultation with KI Health Promotion. Dependent on the prescription, the hour should be planned and adapted according to needs and possibilities in consultation with immediate supervisor. 
  • The extent of employment must be at least 50 % of full time

Can I use the wellness allowance to a gym membership fee?

No, membership fees are a taxable benefit under the rules of the Swedish Tax Agency.

Can I use the wellness allowance to entry fee for an athletics race?

Yes, starting fees are a tax-free benefit.

What applies to golf?

For golf lessons and range balls. However, you cannot receive for membership, equipment hire or facilities as interpreted by the Inland Revenue.

Can I use the wellness allowance for riding lessons?

Yes, but not for membership, equipment hire or facilities.

Can I use the wellness allowance for PT services?

Yes, if it concerns personal training and does not exceed SEK 1,000 per session.

Can the wellness allowance be used for massage?

No. The wellness benefits at KI aims to support physical activity and exercise. The purpose of the wellness allowance is to stimulate and inspire physical activity of a regular and recurring nature.