What is an employee Assistance Programme?
An employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is an employer-paid scheme that gives employees 24-hour access to confidential support, professional advice and short-term counselling to help them deal with personal and work-related problems. This could be financial concerns, relationship breakdowns, bereavements, mental health, illness or concerns about their employment. The service is usually open to close family members of the employee as well.
Why should you invest in an EAP?
No matter how well you treat your employees, they will have difficult times in their lives. An EAP service provides a lifeline to employees when they need it and may help them find practical solutions to their problems.
What does an EAP include?
They are all different but for example Health Assured offer:
- Up to 6 sessions of telephone, online or face to face counselling per issue (not per employee) per year
- Unlimited access to a 24/7 365 days a year telephone helpline
- Legal information, health and lifestyle information, work and home life information
- A specialist partnership with StepChange the debt charity
- My Healthy Advantage app which is a wellbeing app.
- An optional extra for My Health Advantage Plus which includes perks and discounts for staff (at an additional cost per person)
Are EAP services confidential?
Yes. Employees are not required to tell anyone that they are using an EAP, and an employer will not be notified that an employee has contacted an EAP without the employee’s consent or written permission. Likewise, EAP counsellors will not share any details of the sessions with an employer. You can usually access a report with numbers of people that used the service.
Are employers required to provide an EAP?
No, but it can assist with supporting employee wellbeing.
Does an EAP provide occupational health services?
This will depend on the provider, but many do offer this as a service at an additional cost to your usual fee. This can be useful where you need advice and guidance in relation to an individual’s health specifically for work.