Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are designed to provide information and access to counselling services on a range of issues, including stress.

An EAP might offer a 24-hour helpline employees can call for confidential advice and some packages also include face-to-face counselling.

EAPs are often used as part of a whole stress and wellbeing management strategy to improve employee health and wellbeing.

Where employers do use EAPs they may be interested in their potential to limit exposure to the long-term costs associated with stress, such as increased premiums for the use of private medical insurance (PMI), income replacement and critical illness insurance.

EAPs may be limited by confidentiality issues. Only when there is a significant level of work-related stress can providers notify the employer, and then they can only do so in general terms.

The price and degree of service for EAPs can vary widely.

As a low cost HR management tool an EAP is an essential part of your employee benefits package.

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