Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

Harvard Chan School Fitness Benefit Reimbursement Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: 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 facility that provides cardio or weight equipment for independent use.

Q2: 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.

If you are not sure if you are eligible, send an email to Human Resources at sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu to confirm before submitting an application for reimbursement.

Q3: 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.

Q4: How many times can I apply for the fitness benefit per fiscal year?

A: You can submit no more than two reimbursement requests per 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

Q5: 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”, then 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.  If you have not received your reimbursement within the 4-6 weeks timeframe, please follow up by sending an email to sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu so an HR representative can look into it.

PLEASE NOTE: If you submit your fitness benefit form in June or the beginning of July, it may take approximately 6-8 weeks.

Q6: 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.

Q7: 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.

Q8: What items are eligible for reimbursement under the fitness benefit?

A: Individual or family memberships to a health club such as the Harvard Recreation Facilities, Harvard Longwood Vanderbilt Gym, Crunch, Planet Fitness, YMCA, etc. Membership fees to more specialized clubs (i.e. tennis/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, personal/group training etc. do not qualify.

Q9: If I made a purchase in a prior fiscal year, may I get reimbursed for that purchase in this fiscal year?

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

Q10: 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 can only be reimbursed for payments that occurred after your 1 year of service.

Q11: 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 4-6 weeks (up to 8 weeks if you submit your fitness benefit form in June or beginning of July). Your reimbursement will be included in a separate paycheck check from your regular paycheck.

Q12: 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 form or any other links available within the Fitness Benefits webpage, please contact HR by emailing sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu.

Q13: 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.

Q14: 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.

Q15: 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.

Q16: 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 be reimbursed for the total cost of the health club family membership you paid for, so long as the membership is under your  name and you, the employee, can also benefit from the membership.

Q17: 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, it includes the employee’s name).

Q18: 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 4-6 weeks (up to 8 weeks if submitted in June or beginning of July).

Q19: 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 (BE) service at Harvard University. Regardless of your years of service at another Harvard school, you must first complete one year of service at the Harvard Chan School before you can be eligible for the fitness benefit.

Should you have any further questions or need clarity, please submit your question to Human Resources  at sphhr@hsph.harvard.edu before purchasing a gym membership and/or submitting a form for an amount over $350.00.

Q20: 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 become eligible for the Fitness Benefit program?

A: You are eligible for the Fitness Benefit Program once you have completed one year of service here at the Harvard Chan School.  Once you have completed more than five years of benefits-eligible service, you can apply for a reimbursement up to $550.

Q21: 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.