Nearly a third of 12million fit notes [sick notes] issued by GPs are for psychiatric problems, says an NHS report. There was a 14% rise in notes relating to anxiety and stress between 2015-16 and 2016-17. The Royal College of Psychiatrists said the findings were “alarming” and pointed to a need for more to be done to help get people back to work. More than one in five psychiatric sick notes were issued for longer than 12 weeks, compared to only 3% of notes for diseases of the respiratory system. ( BBC report, 1st September 2017)
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is specifically designed to help your employees in the event they require support with some of the challenges that life throws at them: This could be:
Challenges at work Relationship difficulties at home Legal problems Debt or money worries Stress / Anxiety / Depression Relationship difficulties at work Bereavement Problems with drugs and alcohol Eating disorders Trauma.
An EAP scheme provides employees with access to a telephone counsellor to talk through their concerns. The employee can also attend face to face counselling sessions which they arrange directly with their EAP counsellor.
How Is It Paid For?
If your business can possibly spare c.£10 per employee per year My Benefits World would advocate spending this on an EAP scheme. Time and again an EAP has proven to provide the most “bang for your buck” in positively impacting on the lives of your employees. Whilst the scheme is a cost to the business, over a period of three years if this prevents just one employee leaving due to personal issues it can repay the investment several fold.
An EAP scheme can also help your business demonstrate that you have support mechanisms in place in the event an employee brings a grievance, or takes you to tribunal.
Why Offer This Benefit?
The reason companies provide this benefit is to look after their employees (as a caring employer) and to act as a barometer for the overall wellbeing of their workforce. Over 150,000 companies in the UK make an EAP available to their employees.
EAP schemes are a low cost, high value tool, which helps reduce absenteeism by providing support for potentially debilitating personal issues and stress-related illnesses.
EAP schemes have proven to be incredibly powerful in supporting large numbers of employees in the event of a tragedy in the business, such as the death of an colleague. EAP providers can also arrange for onsite counsellors and support services.