Friday, June 12, 2020

It's Time to Emphasize EAP Benefits

Author: Tammy Somogye

For many, January 1, 2020 was the start of a new decade, full of optimism and hope for the future. As of June 1, 2020, this year has brought troubling times that include fear and pain due to racial injustice, a pandemic, unemployment, and growing isolation. 


Employees across the nation are hurting. Some are grieving the loss of one or more loved ones from COVID-19. Against the backdrop of rampant unemployment, many are anxious about how long they might be employed, looming pay cuts, child care challenges, and the rising cost of food. Combined with intense feelings about injustices and other problems plaguing our country and the loss of so many lives, stress is undoubtedly at an all-time high.


Employers cannot overlook how these feelings are impacting their employees both personally and professionally. Now, more than ever, employers must be proactive, frequently promoting their EAP benefits to their employees. After reviewing the particulars of your plan, consider a proactive communication to employees to explain:

  • What benefits are available, such as
    • a counselor who can listen and help process grief, anxiety, anger, pain and relationship challenges
    • financial counseling
    • legal assistance
    • assistance in finding child or elder care
  • Who can use the benefits, such as
    • the employee 
    • the employee's spouse
    • the employee's non-marital partner living in the home
    • the employee's dependents
  • Benefits are typically at no cost 
  • How to use the benefits 
    • what numbers to call 
    • what usually happens when the RAP is contracted (i.e. the employee will receive information about various providers with whom appointments can be scheduled)  
  • Whether employees can take paid or unpaid time off to use the benefits 
  • That you only are informed how many employees use the benefits, not the identity of the employee or the reason the benefit is used
  • You want employees to utilize the benefits because you care about them and their well-bring. 

There is a path back to the optimism and hope with which we began the decade. Demystifying EAP benefits is a step in the right direction. 

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