An employee assistance program is an organization between a corporation, academic institution or government agency and its employees that provides a variety of support programs for the employees. Although EAPs are aimed mainly at work-related difficulties, they can also help employees with problems that originate outside the workplace that can impact work attendance or on-the-job performance. Employee assistance program or EAPs have grown to deal with a variety of issues such as marital problems, anger management, depression, anxiety and physical illness. EAPs can arrange for day care services for children of employees and elder care for parents of employees. Legal and financial assistance may also be available as well. All EAP consultations and referrals are confidential and the services are provided at no cost to the employee. An employer who has established EAP can often attract and keep better talent than a similar employer without an EAP. (Rouse, 2007) There are many benefits that is associated with EAPs.
How does an Employee Assistance Programs work? According to Elaws employees can directly access the EAP voluntarily or they can be referred by their supervisor only in cases of job-performance problems. When an employee uses EAP services voluntarily, there is no need for the supervisor to get involved. However, when a supervisor refers an employee to the EAP because of job performance, the offer of help may be combined with corrections, and the supervisor will need to continue to monitor the employee's performance until no corrections are needed. (Elaws, 2014)
How does an EAP help employees? The EAPs target both:
1. Employees whose performance shows a pattern is lack of productivity and
2. Employees who are aware of problems that may or may not be affecting their job.
Any employee can pursue assistance from the EAP to get information. Approximately four to six percent of employees will contact the EAP on their own. This is a very small amount of people. However, employees with job performance problems who do not contact the EAP are under the attention of their supervisor. When a supervisor refers a troubled employee to the EAP, the supervisor does not have to wait until the problem is interfering with the job. Having an EAP allows supervisors to combine their offers of assistance with early invention measures to help restore job performance. The EAP thoroughly and successfully approaches workplace and personal problems. The employee assistance professional meets privately with the employee, discusses the issues with the employee and helps identify the problem. The EAP then searches for available options and refers the employee to appropriate resources that may be available in the community or professional services covered under the employee benefit plan. (Elaws, 2014)
Back in 2008, according to the International EAP Association, 97 percent of all United States companies with 5,000 or more employees had an employee assistance program....