What is an EAP?
An EAP is a strategic and cost-effective workplace programme that is designed to assist productivity and attendance issues within the workplace and support employees to identify and resolve personal concerns that may affect job performance. These issues might include health, marital, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress, or other personal issues.
EAPs act as a gateway to a wide range of services and support functions. The use of an EAP service by an employee is voluntary and the vast majority of employees who use EAP services do so through self-referrals. Alongside this self-referral group an EAP must be able to accept referrals from other organisational parties too, including union representatives, HR professionals and line managers.
The support services offered by an EAP will generally consist of a blend of the following:
- Short-term psychological services, such as counselling.
- Money advice and debt management.
- Child and eldercare information services.
- Legal information and guidance.
- Information on emotional, work-life and workplace issues.
- Assessment, support, short-term counselling and referral for employee issues.
- Management referrals and support.
- Case management of all ongoing cases to ensure the assessment, treatment and support requirements are carried out to EAPA quality standards.
- Utilisation reporting.
- Management information on employee and organisational interventions, including consultation to management on behavioural aspects of the workplace.
- Working to the confidentiality and ethical standards promoted by EAPA.
Over the years EAPs have become an integral tool in an organisation’s attempts to engage employees and support the health and wellbeing of its workforce. In fact, the latest independent research commissioned by EAPA UK (2008) reveals that 5200 organisations – representing over 8.2 million employees – now enjoy the services of an EAP.