An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counselling service that is offered to staff members of an organisation. This is a worthwhile initiative to assist with issues that individuals may face in their life where they may require some external assistance.
EAPs also remove the financial burden and hassle trying to locate such services for themselves. Here are some common user questions that arise when employees consider accessing their EAP.
How much will it cost me?
EAPs are generally negotiated by an organisation to include a certain number of free counselling sessions for their staff members. The organisation pays, therefore there is no cost to the employees should they only access that set number of sessions.
What if I need more sessions then are allocated?
Employees have two options if they have utilised all of their free sessions.
Firstly, if they are comfortable, they can speak with their Manager and/or Human Resources to see if they can possibly arrange for the organisation to pay for additional sessions.
You may or may not want to do this, depending on if you wish to discuss the reason for your visits with your employer. I have seen this be the case in a number of employers, when a staff members has been going through a difficult time and their free sessions were up, the organisation paid for the extra sessions needed to help support their employee.
The second option is to fund the additional sessions yourself should you not wish to involve your employer, therefore it may be worth speaking with the EAP provider or your Doctor to determine costs.
I don’t want my employer to know that I’ve used the service, won’t they find out?
Due to the confidential nature of an EAP, providers set up with an external phone number.
Employees can call the EAP provider directly so that they do not have to make contact with anyone in the organisation itself.
The employer is generally made aware of overall usage trends throughout a period of time, however are not given individual participant names.
You may wonder why do employers need to know usage, this helps organisation’s to determine whether the program is being used and is therefore a worthwhile investment.
What if I have a personal issue, can I use my EAP sessions to discuss this?
In all cases I have seen EAPs, the service can be used to support individuals through work and personal matters.
Employers acknowledge that sometimes your personal life outside of work can be challenging and you may need some support.
They care for your well being and want you to be happy so that when you are at work, you are productive.
Do I need to physically attend counselling sessions?
As many workers are spread throughout the country, it may be difficult to access services that may not be available within your area or at a suitable time.
Some individuals may also prefer to speak over the phone then to have a face-to-face appointment. Many EAP providers offer a telephone counselling option to cater for these specific needs.
We encourage all individuals, should they feel they are in need of some additional support, to access their organisation’s EAP and if your organisation does not have one, contact your Doctor who can put you in touch with the relevant support. For urgent assistance, please contact Lifeline at 13 11 44.