EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
BARBARA BUTLER & ASSOCIATES INC.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are one of the most effective ways to deal with alcohol and other drug problems in the workplace. An effective EAP provides confidential assistance with problems that interfere with an employee’s ability to function on the job efficiently and safely through prevention, identification, assessment and referral, and follow-up services. Many times immediate family members can also access services, and the programs are titled Employee and Family Assistance Programs or EFAPs.
small businesses are turning increasingly to EAPs to deal with employees’
substance abuse and other personal problems. All sizes and types of
employers have instituted EAPs because an EAP can help save money in
Almost any company can provide EAP services for its employees. Many companies, unions, and other organizations have established their own programs at the worksite. Some organizations may find it easier to contract for EAP services from an outside EAP provider. Smaller companies may join with other companies in a consortium or cooperative arrangement, or work with a local business or trade association to start an EAP for its membership.
Types of EAPs
Employers contract directly with an EAP provider for a variety of services,
e.g., counseling, employee assessment, and educational
Fee-for-Service Contracts: Employers contract directly with an EAP provider, but pay only when employees use the services. Because this system requires employers to make individual referrals (rather than employees self-referring), care must be taken to protect employee confidentiality.
Consortia: An EAP consortium generally consists of smaller employers who join together to contract with an EAP service provider. The consortium approach helps to lower the cost per employee.
Peer-Based Programs: Less common than conventional EAPs, peer--or coworker-based EAPs have been put in place in a number of unionized workplaces; trained volunteers give education and training, and assist troubled employees to find appropriate resources for their problem. This type of program requires considerable education and training for employees.
Key Questions and Answers about EAP/EFAPs
What is an EAP? An Employee Assistance Program (EAP or EFAP) is an employer-sponsored benefit that provides confidential, professional counselling and advisory services for employees and their immediate family members. EAP provide access to services provided by a variety of professionals including psychologists, social workers, and addiction specialists. This highly confidential service is designed to assist employees who are experiencing personal difficulties that often affect work performance.
What Benefits do
EAPs provide? EAPs are important tools in the development and
maintenance of a healthy and productive workforce, and add value to
the organization. An EAP assists employees by acting as a prevention
and treatment resource for individuals who are experiencing personal
difficulties. It is commonly accepted that individuals suffering from
stress related to personal problems can have a negative impact on the
How does an EAP work? Normally employees can access assistance whenever they want -- 7 days a week, 24 hours a day by telephone. This call will be answered by a professional Intake Counsellor who will ask for some basic information, discuss the individual’s concerns, and match him/her to a qualified counsellor in the community. If the nature of the call is deemed to be urgent, immediate telephone counselling will ensue.
Employee Assistance professionals are also trained to guide workplace supervisors and other key personnel in assisting a distressed employee. An added feature of the EAP is the availability of trauma response services in the event of a workplace critical incident.
What kind of problems are covered?
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS – FEATURES AND BENEFITS