Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are important aspect of HR’s work

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are a vital component of an organization’s employee-oriented plans. In a broad sense, Employee Assistance Programs can be said to be any program that assists employees in carrying out their work.

A simple way of understanding EAP is that it is any program or initiative from the management that aids and facilitates employees in some or another way. An Employee Assistance Program can also be implemented outside the workplace if it has a connection with the employee’s working behavior.

What kinds of items are covered in Employee Assistance Programs? 

We need to understand the origins of Employee Assistance Programs to get a grasp of what kind of issues EAPs cover. It started at the height of the drug-related situation in the West in the early 1970’s, when employees were getting addicted in large numbers. Employee Assistance Programs began as a means to bring employees back into the working environment by offering them counseling and other ways out of their habit.

Today, the most common issues covered typically include anger management, anxiety, depression, marital discord and physical conditions. Employee Assistance Programs can also consist of provision for day care for employees’ children or parents. EAP can mean allowing employees to bring such relatives to work or helping them find the right location for this.

Other kinds of Employee Assistance Programs

While the items mentioned above are some of the most common types of EAPs; there is no hard and fast rule that every employee has to have the same, uniform set of programs. Some employers also provide related services like legal assistance for employees fighting divorce cases or other legal issues like property disputes. Some other employers also offer financial assistance in the form of soft education loans for children of employees.

Distinction between Employee Assistance Programs and other benefits

There is often a distinction between Employee Assistance Programs and other kinds of benefits. For instance, an organization that offers Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) may be offering one kind of benefit, but it does not qualify as an Employee Assistance Program, because it is a perk that offers direct financial aid, while an Employee Assistance Program is essentially something of a facility that smoothens the physical aspect of an employee’s working atmosphere.

References:

http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/employee-assistance-program

http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/genlbenefits/employeeassistance.html

 

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