CalNonprofits Insurance Services

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Addresses Top Concern for Employers

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An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) addresses a current top concern for employers; ensuring the health and safety of employees as part of a return to work program and helping with mental health during shelter in place orders.  EAP services help employees to cope with their personal or professional struggles and are a preventive measure against future serious mental or health issues occurring. By offering this type of resource as employees transition back to work, employers provide access to valuable resources to support wellness and communicate clearly to their employees that they are cared for.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides various services to resolve issues that interfere with an individual’s wellbeing and work performance. The services are usually no cost to the employee and are usually include services to family members. They encompass both personal and professional support for employees as well as consultation for issues between management and employee(s).

An EAP provides counseling, referral services, apps, training, and access to educational information for some of the following issues:

  • substance abuse
  • legal concerns
  • job stress
  • personal problems
  • health issues
  • financial problems
  • coping with grief
  • eldercare or childcare
  • workplace difficulties
  • life planning
  • challenges of returning to work from a leave

Benefits of offering an EAP include:

  • motivating employees to self-help through no-cost, easy to access to resources
  • providing quality support for assessment and referral
  • potentially limiting healthcare costs through preventive services
  • may reduce worker’s compensation claims
  • may decrease employee turnover
  • proof of an EAP may be required when applying for some types of liability insurance

Work-Life Balance Program

Our exclusive UNUM Voluntary Life/AD&D Association Plan includes a complimentary Life Balance Employee Assistance Program. This is a great option for small to midsize employers who may not qualify for a full-service EAP package. The UNUM Work-Life Balance EAP provides the following solutions:

  • Confidential, short-term counseling from Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Child and/or eldercare referrals
  • Financial and legal referrals
  • Time management and relocation support
  • Unlimited access to legal forms
  • Career Development
  • Health Advocate
  • Wellness and other resources
  • HR tools and consultation for management on disciplinary measures for employees.

Issues discussed are confidential*, and they may be by phone or in-person with a limit of up to three in-person meetings per issue. Many group disability plans also offer this type of EAP, and HR administrators should check the group policy before adding a separate employee assistance program.

Excepted Benefit

If an EAP meets certain qualifications, it will be considered an excepted benefit. This means that it is exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The qualifications for an EAP to be an excepted benefit are:

• “The EAP is offered at no cost and eligibility is not conditioned on participation in another plan;
• The EAP does not require cost-sharing for services (i.e., there are no co-pays, deductibles, or co-insurance);
• The EAP does not coordinate benefits with another plan; and
• The EAP does not provide significant benefits in the nature of medical care.” (ThinkHR)

Communication is Key

Whether your nonprofit already has an EAP in place or whether you are looking to add an EAP to the employee benefits, communication is key for a successful program. HR administrators need to educate staff on the services available through their EAP. In a 2019 UNUM study, it was found that 46% of workers did not know whether they had an EAP through their employer while a high percentage of employers do in fact offer an EAP to their employees. Developing a plan for communication strategies throughout the year to remind your staff of the services available may increase utilization by employees, which is one of the crucial components for a successful program.

References

Employee Assistance Programs

UNUM Mental Health in the Workplace May 2020 Update (to add link)

About the Author

  • Founded in 1984 as a subsidiary of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), CalNonprofits Insurance Services was established during a time of diminishing insurance options for nonprofits. One of the driving reasons for establishing the association was to use the collective influence of the sector to secure more stable and quality insurance. We have developed, and are known for, our wide spectrum of services reflecting expertise in both the insurance and nonprofit sectors, our superior customer service, and our development of exclusive insurance products, including a highly successful dental and vision trust. We insure more than 1,200 nonprofit organizations throughout California and we are the only California brokerage specializing in insurance for nonprofits. Our clients range from newly established nonprofits all the way to venerable organizations with multiple locations statewide.

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