Counseling Services/ EAPs: What you need to know

Employee assistance programs (EAP) are designed to identify and resolve problems concerning health, marital difficulties, family, finances, alcohol, drugs, legal issues, or other things that may affect an employee's work performance. As employee problems affect the workplace to a greater degree, EAPs are becoming increasingly important in today's workplace. Employees with acute or chronic problems tend to have higher rates of absenteeism and on-the-job injuries, often are less productive than other employees, and may make more use of costly health benefits. An early intervention program such as an EAP helps employees work through issues that are causing stress in their lives before they cause problems on the job, thus benefiting both employees andtheir supervisors and managers, and thereby cutting down on costs to the employer.
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In addition, an EAP can benefit an employer in the aftermath of emergency situations or disasters, in which employees are often more distracted, more fearful, and preoccupied by what's going on outside of the workplace to be attentive to their work.
Generally, EAPs are provided as a benefit to employees and their dependents at no cost to the employee. In part, they are designed to provide intervention to workers before an employee's problem becomes a job performance problem (i.e., an employer problem). Used effectively, they can increase employee morale and performance, cut down on employee turnover, and lower mental health and other insurance costs. In BLR’s 2006 Survey of Employee Benefits,, about 46 percent of all small employers, 69 percent of all medium employers, and 84 percent of all large employers reported that they offered some sort of counseling ...

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