As an employer, you can implement strategies for a healthy workplace which promote the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff and also provide support to anyone who may be experiencing mental health issues.
A very important part of your strategy to foster a mentally healthy workplace includes offering your team members access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which aims to enhance mental health and wellbeing, maximise productivity and improve organisational culture.
By improving your team members’ lives and wellbeing, they will be happier, healthier, and ultimately more engaged and productive at work.
The impact of mental health issues on the workplace
While lifestyle factors including work, diet, drugs and lack of sleep can all affect one’s mental health, those struggling with a mental health problem are often experiencing additional factors.
Life experiences such as serious illness or a death in the family, family or marital problems, physical health problems, social isolation, study or work stress can all have an impact on the mental health of your team members.
If mental health issues among your team are not addressed, they can eventually lead to high absenteeism, lost productivity and high staff turnover.
You may be interested to know that ACECQA’s Ten Year Workforce Strategy includes an entire focus area on wellbeing (Focus Area 4 on page 52), which calls for research into practical mental health strategies for employees that work and the promotion of these wellbeing supports.
What exactly is an Employee Assistance program (EAP)?
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an external service, paid for by the employer, to ensure their employees and their families have access to professional assistance for personal or work-related issues that are impacting on their employment or work performance.
The EAP usually offers your team of staff a suite of practical services such as counselling or therapy from psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals along with practical everyday life support including general health advice and programs. A comprehensive EAP can even include legal services and financial management or debt support.
What about the privacy of my staff?
Any EAP benefits received by employees or family members remain confidential. This means that while the employer pays for the service, they have no insight into an employee’s specific use of the service.
That is, employers do not get to know who is utilizing the service, what the reasons are for, or how often employees call.
This is an important detail, as it means that employees can trust that they are engaging with a private, confidential service.
How much an EAP service normally cost for the employer?
It is the employer who pays for an EAP service, so that it can be offered at no cost to the employees.
Under most EAP packages to employers, the employer pays an annual subscription fee and sometimes additional charges depending on the service being accessed by the staff, such as the counselling service (which can be face-to-face or a telehealth service).
Generally the EAP subscription fee to the employer can range from $2,000 – $5,000 annually, with an additional average cost of approximately $90 a year per employee. The total cost to the business will vary depending on the number of staff employed. As an example, for a business that has 30 staff, the annual cost for an EAP would work out to approximately $5,000 to $8,000 a year.
ACA & TELUS HEALTH offer a low-cost EAP for all early learning service providers
Given the important nature of an EAP, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) wanted to ensure that the cost of an EAP would not be a barrier to any early learning service provider offering this service to their team of staff. In order to offer the early learning sector a high-quality Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at a fraction of the usual cost, ACA has proudly partnered with TELUS Health – the world’s largest EAP provider.
ACA’s partnership with TELUS Health means that we can offer an ongoing high-quality EAP package to the early learning sector at a fraction of the usual annual cost. You don’t have to be an ACA member to take advantage of this EAP offer.
When you sign up to the ACA/TELUS Health offer, your team of staff will have 24/7 support by phone, online by browser and by mobile app, with 24/7 access to telephone counselling as well as professional advisors for advice, work-life support, and referrals. You can read more about the costs and the extent of the services here.
Watch the introductory video
ACA President Paul Mondo and TELUS Health Director of Business Development Kylie Hancock provide an overview of:
- the benefits of offering your team of staff an Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
- how much an EAP normally costs the employer per staff member compared to the very affordable ACA/TELUS Health EAP cost; and
- how the EAP works.