An employee assitance program (EAP) is designed to help employees resolve personal problems that are adversely affecting their work performance. In the past they helped workers with problems such as alcohol or substance abuse. Today, however, they also cover a broad range of other issues including child or elder care, relationship issues, financial or legal problems, mental health issues, wellness and help to overcome traumatic events like workplace violence, racism and sexual assault. Programs are normally provided without cost to employees by third-party EAP vendors or providers that are engaged as part of comprehensive health insurance plans. Services can be delivered over the telephone, video counseling, online chat programs, email interactions or on a one-to-one basis with a counselor.
An EAP may also include a range of other services, such as advice lines, basic legal assistance or help with other problems. EAP services are typically also made available to an employee’s spouse, children or non-marital partner that lives with the employee.