Wellness programs are increasing among large employers, according to MetLife. The company's Sixth Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study found 57 percent of large employers offer a wellness program, up from 49 percent in 2006. Small employers still aren't convinced about wellness programs; for the past two years, only 16 percent report offering such a program.

About 80 percent of employers offer incentives for using wellness programs, and only 9 percent impose fees on employees who don't meet wellness guidelines.

Employers who offer wellness programs appear to be confident about their benefits programs in general. Sixty-five percent feel their benefits programs are better than their competitors, compared with 42 percent of employers who don't offer wellness programs. Of employers who offer wellness programs, 51 percent feel their benefits program is a big draw when attracting employees to their company, and 70 percent say it is important for employee retention. Only 22 percent of employers without wellness programs say their program is a big part of their company's appeal, and 50 percent say it helps with employee retention.

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