Tag Archives: EAP

May is Mental Health Month

May 1, 2017


Depression affects both the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals. Approximately 1 in 10 people will deal with depression at some time in their life according to the CDC. Depression is estimated to cause 200 million lost workdays each year costing employers $17 – $44 billion.

Depression in the workplace can show up in employees in a variety of ways such as decreased productivity, poor quality work, missed deadlines, tardiness, indecisiveness, accidents on the job, procrastination and changes in work-related relationships.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an excellent resource for employees. If an EAP is part of the benefits package, be sure it is promoted so that employees know how to access. There are some other excellent free resources available for employers and their employees:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

Promote awareness and make sure your employees know where to go for help.




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Presenteeism…a “not so apparent” cost

November 17, 2015


We are all familiar with the term “absenteeism” and its effect on productivity when employees don’t show up to do their jobs. However, “presenteeism”, a term given to the situation when an employee reports to work when ill or not operating at their usual level of performance, costs employers even more.

Unlike absenteeism, the costs of presenteeism are harder to calculate.  It may be difficult to tell when an employee’s performance is suffering because of illness or other medical conditions.  Presenteeism results not only from being acutely ill with something like a cold and flu.  It can also be the result of home life stress or chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, alcoholism, migraines and asthma.

When employees report to work sick and contagious they also risk infecting other employees and customers.  This increases the degree of lost productivity. The estimated cost of presenteeism to employers ranges from $150 billion to $250 billion annually.

Strategies to combat presenteeism include implementing paid sick days encouraging employees to stay home when ill.     Also, reviewing company policies to be sure nothing exists that makes an employee feel compelled to come to work sick.  Other strategies include providing telecommuting options, corporate wellness programs and other company programs promoting healthy work life balance, carry over of unused sick days as a reward for working hard and cross-training of employees so others can perform work functions when a co-worker needs to be out.

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Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

May 8, 2013


These days, EAP is a cornerstone to any benefits package offered by employers. EAP services include crisis management, counseling and even management support. When choosing an EAP package to put in place at your company, it’s important to know the differences between a stand-alone EAP policy and bundled EAP that you may get for “free” when purchasing Group Life or even Group Disability coverage.

There’s an old adage that says “you get what you pay for” and this really rings true when comparing EAP plans. Stand-alone EAP policies are more expensive than the bundled kind and it’s easy to say you don’t need a separate policy, especially when it’s thrown in as a value-add. However, in a true crisis such as a death at the workplace, you need to know what you have.

Here’s the lowdown: you want to ensure you have specific included practices in your EAP coverage. Minimally, these will be:

  • 24-hour telephone counseling
  • Face-to-face counseling
  • On-site Crisis Management
  • Substance abuse and chemical dependency knowledge
  • Coverage for families of your employees

If you’ve been told your bundled EAP service is inclusive of these services, here are some questions to ask your current provider to be sure. If any of these are a “no”, then that’s a red flag to begin looking elsewhere.

  • If someone calls the 24-hour telephone number, will the person speaking to them be a licensed counselor?
  • Will the phone counselor be able to properly refer them to a face-to-face licensed counselor if necessary?
  • Will the licensed counselor follow-up with the individual to ensure proper care?
  • Are the visits to a counselor unlimited?
  • Do we have to pay extra fees for On-site Crisis Management?
  • Are the phone counselors versed in speaking to people with substance abuse concerns?
  • Is this coverage for employee’s family members too?

You want to ensure your EAP services fit within the culture you are advocating for your employees and their families. In a bundled EAP policy, many of the answers to the questions above will result in a “no”. If that’s the case, you need to ask yourself as a company if that is acceptable or if you want more for your employees. The benefits of having a strong EAP service are to prevent absenteeism, resolve personal conflict and even reduce workplace accidents. So, how much does your company value risk-avoidance in these areas?

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