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New England News

City's Employees Offered Cash Incentives For Walking

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A western Massachusetts city is taking a unique step to encourage a healthier municipal workforce.

Beginning next month employees of the city of Chicopee can earn a $25 a month cash bonus by just walking an average of 7,000 steps a day, five days a week.

Mayor Richard Kos said he hopes in the long run the wellness incentive program will help reduce employee absences and lower the city’s health insurance premiums.

"In the interim we will have employees concerned about their fitness who are trying to do their best to feel better. An incentive program we thought was the best way to do it," said Kos.

An official with the Health New England insurance company, which is helping administer the program in Chicopee, and providing each participant with an accelerometer to count step,  said it could serve as a model for other municipalities.