Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?

An EAP is a service which helps your company manage its most valuable asset; your employees. An EAP gives them access to a 24 hour telephone based professional counselling service which deals with work related and/or personal issues 365 days a year. An EAP not only ensures that employees have access to support at the right time; it can also improve staff performance, reduce absenteeism and reduce costs due to stress and help mental health issues.

With the current Coronavirus outbreak it's never been more important to invest in an EAP to support staff during these challenging times. Employers can either be regarded as a Hero or a Villain with regards to supporting an employees Mental Health, ignore it at your peril

Providers are citing the following examples during the COVID-19 outbreak:-

  • A leading insurer expressed a 200% increase in calls to its Anytime Helpline.
  • Domestic abuse calls have doubled.
  • Children presenting with self harm problems.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse calls.
  • Employees are presenting with stress, depression and anxiety.

Employers need to ensure that when employees return to work they have robust support service to help employees adapt - an EAP is an ideal starting point. 

An EAP also benefits your managers and supervisory staff through access to coaching and assistance in the areas of employee relations and other management concerns, as well as how to identify stress, especially in the work place. An EAP is designed to be provided to every employee and is not classed as a Taxable Benefit if just provided to employees.

The case referred to below in 2002 was judged on the following basis:-

Hatton v Sutherland [2002] - The Court of Appeal said "An employer who offers a confidential advice service, with referral to appropriate counselling or treatment services, is unlikely to be found in breach of duty" (to safeguard their employees' health)

For the Employees

The telephone based service gives your employees and their dependants (if applicable) a sense of wellbeing that their employer cares about them by providing support not just on work related issues but on everyday troubles. A good example of how EAP’s benefit employees is dealing with the added burden of the current economic climate and financial concerns that we all face.


When sufficient numbers of employees are included in an EAP, a quarterly management information report is provided to the employer showing the service’s full utilisation. The report will show the number of calls in each category of concern (financial / matrimonial / drug or alcohol issues etc), providing useful information as it can often identify trends within the organisation before they get out of control.

The following facts are very relevant to the needs of implementing an EAP for your employees:-

  • 8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2003/2004 according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive and Office of National Statistics.
  • As EAP aims to reduce employee absence and contribute to effective attendance management, improve productivity and employee morale.
  • The cost of an EAP for your employees is tiny; the consequences of not having an EAP can be significant.
  • Protect yourself against stress-related personal injury claims.

A typical EAP will cost as little as £10 per employee and should cover all staff.

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  • Manage and support Mental Health

  • Reduce possiblity of long term absense

  • Access to Face to Face Counselling

  • Support on a wide range of topics, from finance, health, debt, family matters

  • Annual reports showing utilisation

  • Reduce the possiblity of stress in the workplace claims

  • Employer assistance support from managing staff to overcoming confrontation

  • Coronavirus Support services

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If you require any help with your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) needs, please feel free to call us on 01384 456 345. Alternatively, you can use our enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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