Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

Harvard Chan School Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Harvard Chan School Fitness Benefit?

A: The Harvard Chan School fitness benefit provides financial assistance to faculty, staff and postdoctoral fellows who wish to enhance their well being through physical activity at a health club, gym, fitness center, or any facility that provides cardio or weight equipment for independent use.

Q: Who is eligible?

A: Benefits-eligible faculty, staff and postdoctoral members on the regular Harvard Chan School payroll who work at least 17.5 hours per week are eligible after one year of employment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Since not all faculty and postdoctoral fellows are eligible for the benefit, you should check with an HR representative by emailing sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu before submitting an application for reimbursement.

Q: What is the amount of reimbursement?

A: Your maximum benefit for the year is dependent on your years of service at Harvard, according to the following schedule:

Less than 1 year: not eligible

Between 1 – 5 years: $350.00

5 or more years: $550.00

Please note that if you worked at the Harvard Chan School, or another School within the University, that time will be considered (once you have completed a year of service from your most recent Chan School start date) in evaluating your maximum reimbursement amount.

Q: How many times can I apply for the fitness benefit per fiscal year?

A: You may submit no more than two reimbursement requests within a fiscal year. For example:

Harvard Chan School Service: 8 years
Maximum benefit: $550.00
Application 1: $250.00
Application 2: $300.00
Total reimbursement: $550.00

Q: I submitted a fitness benefit application form for the amount of $350.00, but I have not yet received it. What do I do?

A: First, log on to “PeopleSoft Employee Self Service”. Click on “view paychecks”. The fitness benefit reimbursement for $350 will appear in a separate line with its own separate paystub. If you have multiple direct deposit accounts set up in PeopleSoft, your fitness reimbursement amount will be allocated accordingly.

PLEASE NOTE: The fitness benefit reimbursement takes approximately four to six weeks to be reimbursed. If you turn in your reimbursement in June or the beginning of July, the full process can take up to eight weeks, please email HR at sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu so that the matter may be investigated.

Q: I don’t like to share my credit card or bank statement information, what do I do?

A. Please ask a representative at your gym to write us a letter verifying your membership and payment of member fees, including how much you paid and date of payment. If you’ve had fees withdrawn from your checking account, ask them to include in the letter the following information: your name and address, date you paid, amount paid, frequency (whether monthly, weekly, etc.), and the total amount paid.

Q: Is the fitness benefit based on a calendar year or fiscal year?

A: The fitness benefit is based on a fiscal year basis. When submitting the appropriate materials for reimbursement, all checks, invoices and receipts must have a date within the fiscal year.

Q: What items are eligible for reimbursement under the fitness benefit?

A: Individual or family memberships to a health club such as the Harvard Athletic facilities, Vanderbilt Gym, YMCA, or Healthworks. Membership fees to more specialized clubs (i.e. tennis or swimming clubs) may be eligible if the club membership includes access to gym equipment at the facility. The benefit does NOT apply to in-class/online memberships or studio memberships. For example: ClassPass, OrangeTheory, SweatApp, Peloton, yoga studios, boxing gyms, climbing gyms, etc. do not qualify.

Q: If I made a purchase in a prior fiscal year, may I get reimbursed for that purchase in this fiscal year?

A: No. You may only be reimbursed for services and items purchased in the current fiscal year.

Q: Once I’ve completed my 1 year of benefits-eligible service, can I be reimbursed for expenses made prior to my 1 year of service?

A: No. You may only be reimbursed for payments that occurred after your 1 year of service.

Q: How do I apply for the fitness benefit reimbursement?

A: Complete an online Fitness Benefit application form for the current fiscal year and upload a copy to the form.  Should you have any trouble uploading your receipt to the form, email the scanned copy of original receipt or bank/credit card statement to sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu.

Once approved by Human Resources, the Office of Financial Services will process the reimbursement, and you can expect reimbursement in approximately four to six weeks (up to eight weeks if you submit your reimbursement form at the end of June or beginning of July). Your reimbursement will be included in your payroll check.

Q: Where can I get the fitness benefit application form?

A: You can access the Fitness Benefit application form here. If you have any problems accessing the application, please contact HR by emailing sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu.

Q: I was unable to take advantage of the fitness benefit last year and the year before that. Can my benefit be accrued and carried over to this year?

A: No. The benefit is not carried over from fiscal year to fiscal year.

Q: I just joined the Vanderbilt Hall Gym and would like to submit a fitness benefit application form to be reimbursed. I will be paying for my membership through payroll deduction. What do I need for reimbursement?

A: You can purchase a Vanderbilt Hall Gym membership through payroll deduction or by check or credit/debit card. If you pay by check or credit/debit card, you will need to submit a fitness benefit application form with proof of payment and send to Human Resources for approval. If you choose to pay for your membership through payroll deduction you must wait until the year ends to submit payment as the fitness benefit is a reimbursement benefit for paid services and equipment.

Q: I lost my receipt for gym membership; what do I do?

A: Ask someone in the business office of your gym to write a letter on their letterhead stating how much you paid and date of payment. If you’ve had fees withdrawn from your checking account, ask them to include in the letter the following information: your name and address, date you paid, amount paid, frequency (whether monthly, weekly, etc.), and the total amount paid.

Q: I (the benefits-eligible employee) bought a family membership to the YMCA. Can I be reimbursed for total cost of the membership or am I just authorized for reimbursements for individual memberships under my name and for my own use?

A: You can use the fitness benefit to pay for your family’s membership at a health club. However, you, the employee must be benefiting from the membership as well.

Q: My spouse bought a family membership to a health club and I am able to benefit from the family membership.  Can I submit reimbursement although the membership and proof of purchase is under my spouse’s name?

A:  Yes, so long as the benefits-eligible (BE) employee is able to benefit from the health club/gym using the spouse’s family membership, the employee can request for a fitness benefit reimbursement.  Please note: the proof of payment must show proof that it is a family membership (i.e. family membership; 2-adult membership; depending on the type of receipt, include the employee’s name).

Q: How are applications reviewed and by whom?

A: The fitness applications are reviewed by Human Resources. After approval, they are sent to Financial Services for processing. Payments are processed as additional pay compensation. Reimbursement takes approximately four to six weeks. If your form is submitted at the end of June or beginning of July, the process may take up to eight weeks.

Q: I am a Harvard Chan School employee who transferred from the Graduate School of Education (GSE). I had five years of service at GSE and I have been employed with the Harvard Chan School for one year. I did not have a break in service when I transferred. What is my maximum benefit for the year?

A: Your maximum benefit for the year will be based on your benefits-eligible service at Harvard University, not just at the Harvard Chan School. Because there was not a break in service when you transferred you are eligible to receive up to $550.00. If you have had a break in service or if you are a transfer, please contact Human Resources to confirm your total years of service before submitting the application for an amount over $350.00. Please note that regardless of your years of service at another school in Harvard University, if you are new to the Harvard Chan School, you must complete one year of service at the Harvard Chan School before participating in the benefit.

Q: I recently began a new position at the Harvard Chan School after 8 years of benefits-eligible employment at Harvard Medical School. How do I begin participating in the Fitness Benefit program?

A: After you have completed one year of service here at the Harvard Chan School, you may submit the form and paperwork required to apply for reimbursement of eligible fitness memberships. As you have completed more than five years of benefits-eligible service, you can apply for up to $550 to be reimbursed.

Q: My last day is next week.  Can I still submit a fitness reimbursement?  If yes, how will I receive the reimbursement once I am off the payroll?

A: Yes, you can still submit a request for your fitness benefit prior to your last day.  Payroll will request an off-cycle check and send it to you by mail.