Fundamentally, employee assistance is the application in the workplace of knowledge about behaviour and behavioural health to improve both personal and workplace productivity and healthy functioning. That means the employee assistance profession is an unique integration of organisation development, behavioural health, human resources, and business management.
Most employee assistance professionals have knowledge and experience in a behaviour health field such as psychology, social work or counselling, and some may be drug and alcohol counsellors. EA professionals also enter the profession with backgrounds in human resources and organisational development. Internal Model Internal EAP services are provided solely by an employee or employees of the company or organisation.
Smaller organisations may employ a single EAP professional, either full time or part time while larger organisations may have several staff who share the various administrative, consultative, assessment and referral functions.
External Model External EAP services are provided by an outside service provider on a contractual basis. External EAP services usually provide training, education and promotion during the launch of the service to encourage the use of the EAP service.
The service would provide mental health support confidentially to employees. Direct line assess is essential allowing employee to make contact with the EAP directly, ensuring confidentiality.
External services provide counselling, information, and support delivered by mental health professionals, usually based off site of the organisation. Consortium Model Several small employers join together to establish a shared EAP or jointly contract with an external provider. The IRS Employee Assistance and Work-Life Referral Program is a voluntary, confidential counseling and referral service provided to all employees and their immediate family members.
IRS employees who separate e. The IRS EAP offers short-term counseling and referral services for a variety of issues such as mental health, emotional, family, financial, elder and dependent care, legal difficulties, etc. There is no cost to employees or family members who receive counseling and other services provided directly by EAP.
EAP counseling helps employees identify and assess issue s and also helps employees in issue solving. EAP provides employees with a maximum of four counseling sessions per issue, per calendar year [i. All counseling is strictly confidential.
Client information may not be released to anyone without their prior written consent, except as required by law. Employees can contact the EAP directly. Their contact, participation in the EAP and any recommended treatment is confidential and will not be disclosed to the organization.
No penalty may be imposed upon an employee for accepting or declining to participate in the EAP. The fundamental purpose of the EAP is to enable employees to achieve their full individual potential, even when stress and issues in their working or personal lives present difficult challenges.
Employees are encouraged to utilize the EAP when they have issues of a personal nature related to work and family. Management may utilize the EAP to assist employees who may need guidance in handling personal concerns and to help with organizational issues that may be affecting the mental health of employees.
Unions are also regarded as partners of the EAP and whenever appropriate, may support the objectives and policy of the EAP. The Employee Assistance and Work-life Referral Program helps employees and their immediate family members resolve personal and work-related issues. The program has two main components: In addition, the Program offers additional support and services to the agency. The EAP provides telephonic and in-person clinical services to help employees and their immediate family members address stressful life issues and personal concerns.
The program is available to IRS employees and their families, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, days per year. Employees may meet in person with a counselor in their community or with a member of the EAP telephone counseling staff.
Employees are entitled to a maximum of four counseling sessions per calendar year for each presenting issue 4 sessions for grief, 4 sessions for stress, etc. If further counseling is needed after the four-session EAP limit, EAP counselors will assist employees in arranging care through their own health insurance plan or other community resources. The EAP can help address a variety of concerns, including:. If an employee is dissatisfied with the professional counseling either telephonic or face-to-face sessions received, they have the option of seeing another counselor at no additional cost or loss of counseling sessions until the EAP service is provided satisfactorily.
Employees are referred to the same telephone counselor for each call unless otherwise requested by the employee. Managers who have concerns about a specific employee whose conduct or personal issues are affecting his or her performance and the performance of the work group can call the EAP to request a management consultation.
Specially trained consultants will help managers refer their employees experiencing issues to the EAP. Work-life Referral Services help employees find solutions to the daily challenges of personal, work, and family life through consultation and referral to local and community resources. The program provides information and referral to assist with life events of all kinds. For concerns ranging from workplace stress to caring for a young child or an elderly relative, employees have access to a wide variety of resources to help manage their work-life balance.
Work-life consultants address a variety of concerns, including: Legal Issues Confidential access is available to legal professionals who are dedicated to providing practical, understandable information and assistance to assist employees in resolving legal issues, including:. Financial Issues Financial professionals are available to discuss concerns and provide employees with the tools and information needed to meet financial goals. Employees may consult with financial specialists about personal money management questions and receive the information needed to make the best decisions on issues, such as:.
Manager training sessions to provide managers with knowledge on how to use EAP services and how to use the critical incident and referral services for job performance issues. Also provides management training in response to work setting changes—change management, redeployment, workplace stressors—by request of managers for their work groups.
Wellness sessions to provide employees with ways to identify issues, encourage help seeking issue resolutions and offer insight and relief from issues by directing them in some cases to EAP.
Wellness educational sessions to provide information on specific information on specific topics, e. Employees should coordinate participation during business hours with their managers. The sessions are training and management may allow administrative time for employees to attend.
Examples of critical incidents include deaths, serious injuries, incidents involving children or co-workers, personal assaults, industrial accidents, etc. Managers may contact the EAP directly to arrange for critical incident services. These debriefings usually involve three or more employees.
EAP specialists help managers develop an action plan to respond to a specific incident. This can include on-site debriefings as well as counseling services. EAP provides telephonic one-on-one wellness coaching to help employees toward lifestyle changes such as:.
Wellness coaching is at no cost to employees. Services are available during non-business hours and business hours. Employees must have manager approval to participate during business hours. Managers may grant administrative leave for visiting the EAP during duty hours. Employees may be granted up to one hour of excused absence, plus travel time, if applicable for the four free EAP sessions only.
Confirmation of attendance will be provided by the EAP according to applicable confidentiality procedures. Employees must request and coordinate scheduling of an appointment during duty hours with their manager. Employees who do not want their managers to know of their attendance must arrange appointments outside official duty hours or while on official leave.
During any period s of treatment and rehabilitation through an outside resource, employees must request to use their own annual or sick leave or request leave without pay in accordance with applicable law, rules and regulations.
Administrative leave may also be granted for EAP employee orientation or education activities e. The Privacy Act 5 U. EAP counselors must provide employees with a written notice concerning the confidential nature of EAP records along with the conditions where information discussed in counseling may be disclosed.
Generally, these laws and regulations prohibit EAP staff from sharing any information about clients to anyone outside of the EAP, without the specific written consent of the client. Employee participation in the EAP is confidential and strictly voluntary. The counselor cannot discuss any additional information because that information is covered by the Privacy Act.
All records of the EAP, whether written, oral and electronic are covered by this policy. The contractor is responsible for maintaining confidential records on clients and these records must be maintained in a system of records.
Contractors are custodians of EAP records while under contract to the agency. At the completion of any contract, EAP records still in existence will be surrendered by the contractors to designated persons in IRS i. The laws and regulations governing the EAP should not be construed to authorize any violation of state law, in the event that a state law has greater restrictions than these regulations. Also, no state law may either authorize or compel any disclosures prohibited by these regulations.
Confidentiality safeguards for records stored electronically must be maintained. Contractors must ensure the security, privacy and confidentiality of all electronic protected health information as required by law Privacy Act and HIPPA.
Records are retained for three years after the employee has ceased contact with the EAP, whether or not the employee has terminated employment with the agency. Records may be kept longer if required by the State where the records are kept, or until any litigation involving the employee is resolved. When applicable, contract staff may retain records past this period, for as long as any relevant state statutes of limitation require.
All EAP files shall be destroyed after the required period of maintenance. Except where disclosure without consent is allowed see section 6. This applies to all releases, including those to supervisors, treatment facilities, and family members, without regard to the type of issue the individual is experiencing.
There are also times when the EAP must obtain confidential information from other sources. A sample consent form for obtaining confidential information is found in Exhibit 6.
In certain situations, information provided to the EAP is not protected by the confidentiality regulations and policies and, due to the nature of the information, must be reported to the appropriate people. Under 42 CFR Part 2, the EAP is required by law to report incidents of suspected child abuse and neglect in some states, elder and spouse abuse to the appropriate state and local authorities.
These disclosures are limited to information about the abuse. If the client commits or threatens to commit a crime that would physically harm someone or cause substantial property damage, disclosures may be made to appropriate persons, such as law enforcement authorities. When they choose to do so, they will sign a consent form allowing the release of such information.
When consent is given to disclose the information to supervisors, the EAP will usually limit its discussion to: Another example might be when an employee is involved in a potential disciplinary situation and wishes to demonstrate his or her sincerity in seeking assistance with the issue. It shall be attached to any written information released or sent separately if the information was released orally. When an employee recognizes a issue with alcohol, drugs or emotional stress that is affecting work performance and would like help, he or she may contact the EAP provider.
The manager should not attempt to diagnose the perceived issue, nor should they counsel the employee on personal issues. Managers should not try to counsel the employee on personal issues. The EAP counselor is better equipped to help an employee who is experiencing personal issues. The employee has the option to refuse the referral, and the employee cannot be disciplined for lack of participation in EAP services.
While this referral to the EAP is mandatory, there is no authority or requirement to compel an employee to partake of EAP services, which are voluntary. Failure to do so, however, may have adverse consequences for the employee. Referrals from Others —Union representatives, employee health units, human resource staff, etc. They will be informed that written consent must be obtained from a referred employee before EAP will proceed with the referral.
A variety of other outside programs and resources e. Alcoholics Anonymous, Domestic Violence Hotline are available for recommendation to employees and family members.
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“ESI has always responded to the needs of the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES in a prompt and professional manner. The employee assistance program has been an asset to our management personnel in dealing with sensitive employee issues .
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