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Is an employee assistance programme a legal requirement?

29th July, 2023 by Graham Nicholls
employee assistance programme
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Is an employee assistance programme a legal requirement?

The short answer to the question of whether an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a legal requirement is no. It is not a legal requirement for employers to provide an employee assistance programme for their workforce. However, employers do have a duty of care for their employees which could involve providing an EAP if necessary.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are treated fairly and are able to work in a safe and healthy environment. This means that employers should ensure that their employees are taken care of and have access to the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. This could include providing an employee assistance programme if it is deemed necessary.

What is an employee assistance programme?

An employee assistance programme is a programme that offers employees access to free and confidential coaching, support services and training to support them in helping themselves. This can include services such as mental health support, financial coaching and support for families. These programmes can help employees navigate through difficult situations in their lives and provide them with the help and support they need to succeed at work.

Employee assistance programmes can be beneficial to both employees and employers. For employees, they can provide access to the support they need during tough times, and for employers they can provide cost savings and improved employee health and wellbeing. Very often employers will see improved morale, increased efficiencies and productivity along with a reduction in absenteeism and staff turnover.

Demonstrate your commitment

Although employee assistance programmes are not a legal requirement, they can be a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the wellbeing of your employees. As an employer, it is important to consider the impact that an EAP can have on employee morale, health, and productivity. It can also provide a safe space for employees to raise difficult issues without fear of judgement. Employee assistance programmes are safe spaces for employees to talk and get help resolving issues that they may not feel comfortable talking about at work.

In summary, although an employee assistance programme is not a legal requirement, employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees, and an EAP could be a great way to demonstrate this. By demonstrating this employers can attract the right staff into their business. In 2021 over 40% of people who changed jobs said they chose a business with a mental health support programme (such as an employee assistance programme) over a business without.

Providing your staff with en employee assistance programme may not be a legal requirement. However, you should consider whether it is morally and ethically the right thing to do.

If you want to learn more about our employee assistance programme, click the button below. Or, if you are ready to support your staff please fill in the form below and we'll get in touch.

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