Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Healthy Workers initiative?

The Healthy Workers initiative is one of three settings-based programs under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments in 2008.
The objectives of the initiative are to:
  • encourage employees to make sustainable changes to their lifestyles such as increased physical activity levels, healthier eating behaviours, smoking cessation and reduction of harmful alcohol consumption; and
  • assist in preventing lifestyle related chronic diseases and related morbidity and mortality rates in Australian adults.

Is funding available?

  • The Healthy Workers initiative is providing up to $222 million in funding for health promotion in workplaces that focus on key modifiable lifestyle behaviours. Of this amount, up to $217 million will be available to state and territory governments to support health promotion activities in workplaces.
  • Funding for Healthy Workers has been allocated to specific activities which are detailed in state and territory implementation plans. These plans, which include local contact details for activities, can be accessed at: National Partnerships - Health.
  • The remaining $5 million is being used by the Australian Government to develop ‘soft infrastructure’ to support the implementation of state and territory activities at both a local and national level. This infrastructure includes this website, the Joint Statement of Commitment: Promoting Good Health at Work and a quality framework and registration web site for workplace health programs. National awards for employers demonstrating best practice in workplace health programs are being delivered by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.

Where can I get more information on the Healthy Workers initiative?

For more information on state and territory programs under the Healthy Workers initiative, you can access implementation plans, which include local contact details on the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations.
For more information on other components of the Healthy Workers initiative, you can send an email to the Healthy Workers contact email address at the Department of Health.

How do I find a good provider of workplace health programs?

In 2012, the Australian Government will be engaging a Registration Body to assess providers of workplace health programs and programs against the Quality Framework developed for the Healthy Workers initiative. Employers will be able to search for registered providers on an Information Portal.

Where do I get more information on mental health?

As the Healthy Workers initiative is focused on achieving improvements in the modifiable lifestyle risk factors of smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and the hazardous consumption of alcohol in the workplace, mental health is not addressed in detail on this site. However, it is recognised that there is a link between these five risk factors and mental health and there are links to sites addressing wellness and mental health in the Useful Links section.

Is the Healthy Workers initiative compulsory for employers?

No. The Healthy Workers initiative is voluntary for both employers and employees.

What are the benefits for my business?

Your business can benefit from implementing a healthy workplace program through:
  • increased workplace productivity,
  • reduced absenteeism;
  • greater employee satisfaction; and
  • improved recruitment and retention.
For more information, see the ‘Why invest in the health of your workforce?’ section.

Can I get a Fringe Benefits Tax rebate on my workplace health program?

Employers wishing to seek information about Fringe Benefits Tax should refer to the Australian Taxation Office website.