What exactly is an employee assistance program?

EAPs are employer- or group-supported programs designed to alleviate workplace issues due to mental health, substance abuse, personal, and workplace issues. The goal of these programs is to have a positive effect on employee productivity and organizational performance. They are sometimes called employee and family assistance programs (EFAPs) or member assistance programs. See EASNA’s Purchaser’s Guide, available here [create a link to the document].


Do I have to hire an EAP in the same state or province where I work?

No. EAPs typically serve clients across North America and the Caribbean, not just where their headquarters are located. They have a network of clinicians ready to help you and your employees wherever you are located.


What factors will determine the cost of hiring an EAP?

There are several factors, including, but not limited to these:

  • number of employees,
  • type of services covered,
  • anticipated utilization of the program.

The cost for an EAP represents less than a third of one percent of the total employee health care benefit spent at most companies. Thus, EAPs are one of the smallest areas of all employee benefits costs.


What’s the return on investment going to be?

Purchasing an EAP often includes justifying the cost of the service to those in charge of the budget at an organization. This is a question of whether or not the EAP provides enough business value to cover the cost of purchasing the service. In other words, is the financial return on investment (ROI) a positive ratio? The typical analysis produces an ROI of between $3 and $10 US in return for every $1 dollar invested in the EA program. The ROI for EAPs is consistent with what is found for other kinds of worksite health-promotion and wellness programs.


What are the primary benefits of hiring an EAP?

Research shows that organizations with an EAP experience reduced absenteeism and presentism. They see increased higher productivity and engagement, and are generally a healthier group of individuals with better physical and mental health.


What are the basic services offered?

Basic EAP services include, but are not limited to, assessment, short-term problem-solving and counseling for employees and their covered family members, management consultation,  guidance on dealing with difficult employee situations (such as job performance problems and substance abuse), traumatic and critical incident response, violence prevention and response, and educational services and programs.