In a world where “too good to be true” is more often the case than not, employee assistance programs (commonly referred to as “EAPs”) stand proudly as an exception to the rule. EAPs offer employees and their families assistance in a variety of areas such as mental health, financial wellness, and legal guidance. The most exciting prospect of all? It’s actually free.
While 97% of American employees have access to an EAP actual utilization sits in the single digits (6.7% on average in 2015). With such a fantastic benefit, at no cost, why do EAPs have such low utilization rates? Many employees fail to realize the benefit exists at all. The most common reason given relates to privacy and confidentiality.
Getting over the confidentiality hump is a struggle that EAP providers are aware of. However, the very nature of an EAP is built around privacy. When an employee calls an EAP, the employer has zero knowledge of this and the employees name (let alone the issue) is never discussed with the employer. Furthermore, the function of the EAP serves as a means to connect the employee with a healthcare professional; one who is bound by strict privacy laws (HIPAA).
Accepting EAPs as 100% confidential may be a big step for many so starting small might be a solution. EAPs are often associated with mental wellness, but also offer many alternative benefits. EAPs now often have websites that house additional complimentary resources such as blogs and videos on topics ranging from childcare, aging, housing options, grief and loss, nutrition, career development, workplace safety and more. These websites also contain e-learning software with presentations, online quizzes, and even certificates of completion.
With the zero cost, exceptionally large number of topics, and 100% confidentiality: there is absolutely no reason for anyone to avoid taking advantage of an EAP. Want to know if your employer offers an assistance program? Look for EAP posters in your breakroom, talk to your HR professional, or find it in the benefits section of your employee handbook.
Ataraxis partners with BPA Health to offer a fully comprehensive EAP for all of their co-employees and family members. For more information, visit www.bpahealth.com. For any other questions, feel free to call your Ataraxis benefits specialist at 208.906.2636.