UT Austin launches new Wellness Time Off program

Being one of the world’s premiere places to work involves looking after employees’ health and wellness, something The University of Texas at Austin has taken a step further with the launch of its newest employee benefits program.

Earlier this month, UT Austin rolled out its Wellness Time Off program to support the overall well-being of the university’s leave-eligible employees. As of November 2022, eligible employees can accrue a maximum of eight hours of wellness time off each fiscal year when they complete an annual preventive care visit and fill out a “well-being assessment” within the university’s new UT Living Well Platform powered by Limemade.

Nossé Ovienmhada is the Work Life Balance and Wellness Manager with central Human Resources.

“The UT Living Well Platform powered by Limeade is meant to be your one-stop shop social platform for all of our wellness resources,” said Ovienmhada. “In addition, this is the platform that houses the wellness assessment that is required to get the eight hours of time off. This platform is great because it’s really geared toward you. As you participate in different things, it will continue to provide current information on how you can improve your health.”

Employees who have the UT Select health insurance plan can use the UT Living Well Platform at any time. Non-UT Select members will have another way to access the wellness assessment needed to earn wellness time off hours.

The Wellness Time Off program and accompanied platform were years in the making, taking over a decade of hard work and a lot of moving parts to get off the ground.

“A lot of work went into this,” said Ovienmhada. “Even though it seems like it’s something that just sort of popped up and is happening, it’s been more than 10 years in the making. We’ve been working at it for a long time, so we’re very appreciative of everyone who remained dedicated.”

This expansive and collaborative effort highlights many of FAS’s core values at work and how the portfolio continues to bring about positive change on campus.

“One of the core values that pops up immediately is teamwork and working collaboratively,” Ovienmhada said. “Our organization is so large and with this whole process, we were able to create a brand-new system. From the research end and how the UT Staff Council played a part, to working directly with the President’s Office and FAS leadership, to find ways to make this equitable to all faculty and staff. And from the backend, working with our UT benefits insurance, and then our Enterprise Business IT Solutions (eBITS) team working on the actual process—the system—on how we run these programs.”

Ovienmhada stresses the importance of the Wellness Time Off program not just in accessibility—but also in allowing employees to find out what wellness means to them individually. Everyone has different external factors that can affect their well-being—work, family, finances—and being able to take some time to explore moments of stillness is crucial for maintaining mental, emotional, and physical health, Ovienmhada explained. Whether it’s going to a coffee shop, reading a good book, or going for a run around the neighborhood, employees are encouraged to use their wellness leave however they see fit.

Moreover, there are other free resources beyond Wellness Time Off that allow employees to look after their health. A plethora of digital tools are available, including MD Live for scheduling zero-dollar co-pay online visits with physicians and mental health care providers, and virtual programs for managing diabetes, weight, and joint pain. These resources and more are available for UT Select members and can be accessed through the HealthPoint Wellness resources page.

“At UT Austin, we’re so special in the way that we work as an organization,” said Ovienmhada. “Even though there are other institutions that have policies like this, it’s going to be different here and on a much larger scale because of the diversity of how, when, and where we all work.”

Limeade Wellness Living Well logo with text: Be your best with the new UT living well platform powered by Limeade
November 28, 2022
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