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An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a worksite resource for organizations designed to enhance employee health and productivity through prevention, identification, and resolution of personal and family problems that might interfere with work.


EAPs provide employees with access to confidential and professional assistance when they need it. When employees recognize a concern and access their EAP, the EAP can help resolve concerns and prevent problems in the workplace. When problems do appear on the job, EAPs help supervisors and managers work with employees to address the problems, seek and receive appropriate counseling or treatment, and return to work with renewed productivity.

EAP offers services that help individuals resolve problems that can interfere with health and productivity on the job. EAPs provide assessment, short-term counseling, and referrals for a wide-range of personal and family problems. These problems typically include:

  • Emotional (Stress, Depression, Anxiety)

  • Couples and Relationships

  • Alcohol and Drug Problems

  • Family Difficulties

  • Eldercare

  • Financial and Legal

  • Health

(Consultation, Training & Evaluation)


EAP Orientation for all Employees

Onsite EAP orientations should be offered for all managers and employees.  (Many EAP vendors also provide internet websites or DVD programs for delivery of ongoing orientation programs.)


Supervisory-Leadership Training

Comprehensive EAP Leadership Training for managers and supervisors regarding use of effective management skills in the workplace.  Training may be delivered in a variety of formats, and cover topics such as effective supervisory skills, performance-based identification of troubled employees, the EAP management referral process, and consultation with the EAP.


Labor Coordination

The EAP should communicate effectively with labor unions and its worksite representatives, and coordinate services with existing labor support programs.


Management Communication and Consultation

The EAP should provide on and offsite assistance with management referrals, “difficult” employees, workplace conflicts, return-to-work conferences and other identified needs of the workplace.


EAP Providers can consult with managers and leaders of an organization regarding a wide range of employee and/or management issues that impact the health and productivity of an organization.


Most EAPs provide:

  • Training for supervisors, union stewards, and others about how to effectively use the EAP and when to refer employees to the EAP

  • Critical incident services to respond to traumatic events in the workplace

  • Assistance to workgroups undergoing work redesign processes, or “downsizing”

  • Support for work teams experiencing grief and loss in the workplace

  • Drug-free workplace services

  • Conflict resolution

  • Help with threat management or disaster planning

  • Consultation on policies and benefit design regarding mental health and substance abuse


Studies by independent researchers and employers have consistently demonstrated the cost effectiveness, benefit, and value of EAPs.  The Benefits of EAP According to the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce experiences a mental health or substance abuse disorder. Mental health issues cost U.S. companies about $63 billion a year. While about 28 percent of that accounts for treatment costs, 27 percent is associated with excessive absenteeism and 28 percent is associated with loss of productivity. In addition to costs associated with mental health issues, most of us experience additional “life problems” (i.e., divorce, death of a loved one, etc.) that contribute to health and productivity issues.


Research has shown a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for EAPs using several different outcome variables, including:

  • Productivity Improvement

  • Reduced Absenteeism

  • Lowered Health Care Utilization/Costs

  • Improved Retention

  • Reduced Use of Sick Leave

  • Reduced Accidents at Work

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