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Benefits of an Employee Assistance Program

We are in a time when Mental Health is a top priority. Due to the pandemic, many people are experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time in their lives and do not have the tools they need in order to move forward. Stress both in and out of the workplace is a fact of life for many employees. Add to that the personal, professional, and financial anxieties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and individuals could be struggling now more than ever. Business owners may have the very same concerns at this time, but there are things you can do to help alleviate some of the burdens your employees are facing. In the long run, providing such a resource during a difficult time can go a long way in demonstrating how much you value your workforce.

An employee assistance program, or EAP, is one example of how you can help employees resolve a variety of issues that contribute to stress, which in turn, may be adversely affecting their work performance and morale. This is important at any time, but particularly crucial during challenging situations such as a major work disruption or public health emergency. EAPs may help improve engagement and productivity, increase morale, improve employee health, and even reduce absenteeism and turnover. Here's a closer look at why you should consider an EAP as part of your benefits lineup.

What is an EAP?

An EAP provides a confidential source that employees can use to find support and resources for certain challenges they face. The service is usually provided as part of a larger benefits package and connects employees to assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services. Depending on the situation, employees can access certain services from the safety and privacy of their own home.

How does an employee assistance program work?

Specific services of an EAP vary depending on the plan documents of that specific EAP. However, an EAP typically covers the employees and could also cover eligible household members, including spouse, domestic partner, children, and dependents. EAPs often maintain a network of partners that can help meet a range of needs, such as legal firms, childcare professionals, elder care specialists, nutritionists, fitness experts, and more. With an EAP, the employees and their household members have access to a confidential resource they can call when crises or general life management questions arise.

An EAP is not health insurance. However, a combination of a health insurance plan and an EAP could be useful to your organization and appreciated by employees.

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