8 Ways to Offer Wellness Benefits to Independent Professionals

By MBO Partners | January 29, 2024

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Key Points

Being a Client of Choice is critical for any enterprise competing for independent professionals with in-demand skills.

Among other benefits, your status as a Client of Choice can be influenced by the types of wellness benefits you offer to independents.

Make sure that what you offer doesn’t trigger regulatory compliance risk.

Being a Client of Choice is critical for any enterprise competing for independent professionals with in-demand skills. Our research shows an annual increase in the percentage of independents saying they are able to choose the clients with whom they work. This choice goes beyond money into areas like ease of engagement, the quality of working relationships, and available learning opportunities. It can also be influenced by the types of wellness benefits a client offers them.

8 Ways to Support Your Independent Contractors’ Wellness

Offering wellness benefits to independent contractors can be a differentiator to the high-value independent talent that you seek. Along with other

1. Health Stipend

You can offer a health stipend, reimbursing independents for medical expenses up to your set monthly allowance. Such expenses could include monthly premiums for their own individual health insurance as well as out-of-pocket health expenses. (Note that this is taxable, so contractors must report any reimbursements as income at tax time.)

2. Wellness Stipend

In addition to or instead of a health stipend, you can offer contractors a wellness stipend. This stipend focuses on ongoing support of the worker’s physical and mental well-being. Reimbursable expenses could include gym memberships, meditation app subscriptions, or nutrition programs. (Like the health stipend, reimbursements are taxable income.)

3. Wellness-focused Education

Include contractors in the educational opportunities that are part of your employee wellness program, such as webinars about stress management, time management, and ergonomics for a home office.

4. Discounts on Wellness Tools

Arrange for discounts that independents can apply to purchases such as activity monitors, meal delivery services, and athletic clothing.

5. Offer Wellness-focused Rewards or Gifts

Instead of giving a restaurant gift card or mailing something sweet, give your independent workers (and employees) useful accessories for wellness. Brainstorm ideas: A large water mug, fitness wearable, and a journal for writing and/or sketching are a good start.

6. Group Activities

Set up friendly competition for employees and contractors through events like a virtual 10K (measured through an activity monitor) or a 10,000 Steps contest, individually or in teams. Activities like these can have team-building benefits as well as supporting wellness in your workforce.

7. Financial Fitness

Offer financial management education and services that help independents cope successfully with variations in income common to their chosen work style.

8. Paid Time Off

Include paid holidays for your independent workforce on a schedule that matches up with those of your employees. Offer paid time off to independents that fulfill certain criteria such as hours worked or length of engagement.

Make Sure You Don’t Trigger Risk

Offering wellness options to independents along with other benefits can lead to a healthier, more satisfied workforce, positively impact the company’s image, and contribute to long-term business success. Fundamentally, it can make a difference in engaging and retaining key talent. However, extending wellness benefits may not be a case of simply extending your existing employee program to include contractors. It’s important to make sure that what you offer doesn’t trigger regulatory compliance risk, which means including legal review of proposed initiatives before launching them.


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