Getting Started with an Employee Assistance Program

Feb 1, 2021

As we focus on client and employee appreciation this month, we want to get started by breaking down employee assistance programs. These programs are a fantastic way to affordably extend benefits to your team.


What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

Definition provided by SHRM


An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance. EAPs traditionally have assisted workers with issues like alcohol or substance abuse; however, most now cover a broad range of issues such as child or elder care, relationship challenges, financial or legal problems, wellness matters and traumatic events like workplace violence. Programs are delivered at no cost to employees by stand-alone EAP vendors or providers who are part of comprehensive health insurance plans. Services are often delivered via phone, video-based counseling, online chatting, e-mail interactions or face-to-face.

An EAP may also include a wide array of other services, such as nurse advice lines, basic legal assistance or adoption assistance. EAP services are usually made available not only to the employee but also to the employee’s spouse, children and non-marital partner living in the same household as the employee.

EAPs that offer medical benefits such as direct counseling and treatment rather than just referrals for counseling and treatment are regulated under ERISA and subject to COBRA.



What can an EAP do for you?


When clients ask us about why they should incorporate an EAP into their benefits offering, we love to highlight how diverse and expansive the support options can be. Most people associate EAP programs with mental health counseling, but there are so many more areas of life that can be covered.


Depending on the EAP provider, your employees may have access to:

  • Financial Coaching
  • Tax Support
  • Fertility Health and Family Building
  • Childcare Services
  • Legal Tools and Services
  • Life Coaching
  • …and more!


Who do we recommend?


The HR Annie team uses Cascade Centers for our own internal EAP program, and we happily recommend them to all of our clients!


From the Cascade Centers Website:

Cascade’s mission is to support organizational success and improve quality of lives. We provide comprehensive and leading-edge services nationwide, such as:

• Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
• Work/Life Balance Programs
• Behavioral Health Risk Assessment
• Digital Mental Health Solutions
• Organizational Training and Development
• Executive Coaching

Cascade Centers is committed to creating a safe, inclusive and equitable society for all. It is important to acknowledge you may experience feelings of uncertainty and trauma as a result of recent local and national events.



How do I get started?


For more information about incorporating an EAP program in your business, reach out to the HR Annie Team of Experts today!

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