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What are Employee Assistance Programs?

Employee Assistance Progams (EAPs) are programs that are offered either by an employer or a third party provider engaged by the employer to employees to provide them with help in dealing with a myriad of issues that may impact negatively on their performance at the workplace. Examples of these may include issues such as the health of employees, significant personal circumstance of employees and possible negative relationships and behaviours within the workplace.

EAPs typically are provided free of charge to the employees, with costs being covered by the employer. In some cases, the EAP services are also extended to the family members of the employees. These services assist employees by providing assessment services to determine the extent of the issues impacting upon the employee, provide practical advice and interventions to help the employees and in certain situations provide referrals to other services that may be better qualified to assist with the issues.

There are benefits for both the employee and employers who utilize EAPs. Employees receive a confidential avenue in which they feel free to discuss various issues that can impact on their work, enabling them to resolve these issues that are affecting their job performance. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation for the employees. For the employer, providing these services that benefit the employee will also provide them with follow on benefits. For example, a more motivated employee is likely to be more productive and committed to the organization. This in turn is likely to lead to lower turnover and absenteeism rates for the employer.