4.63 Employee Assistance Program

I. Purpose

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has been established to provide information, problem assessment, short term problem-focused counseling, and referral to community resources for employees and their eligible dependents. The program has also been implemented to support the College's drug-free college policy (Policy 4.01). Employees and eligible dependents may access EAP services to address a variety of problems and concerns (including but not limited to marital; family; alcohol/drug related; stressful life circumstances) that may affect employee well-being and/or job performance.

II. Program Description

A. Eligibility

The Employee Assistance Program is available to all full-time employees of the College, spouses of full-time College employees; unmarried children of full-time College employees, including step-children and foster children who are totally dependent upon the employee for support; and unmarried children 19-22 years of age, provided they are full-time students enrolled for at least ten (10) semester credit hours per term in an accredited junior college, college, university, or trade school, eligibility for the above categories continuing for thirty (30) days following job termination for full-time employees.

B. Types of Referrals

1. Self-Referral: Employees are encouraged to voluntarily make direct contact with the EAP for assistance in resolving a personal concern that poses a threat to his/her personal well-being or job performance.

2. Informal Referral: An administrator, colleague, or friend may encourage contact with the EAP for an eligible employee who may be experiencing personal difficulties.

3. Formal Administrative Referral: In cases in which an employee is manifesting deteriorating job performance, a referral can be made by an administrator within the context of approved College procedures as a part of a process to address the work performance concern.

C. Confidentiality

1. Self-referrals and informal referrals are strictly confidential. No information concerning an employee's participation in the EAP will be discussed or released without the expressed written consent of the employee. Counseling sessions are confidential (the EAP does provide the College with periodic reports of utilization statistics which do not identify individual participants). Limits to confidentiality are prescribed by law. If an individual communicates to the EAP staff that he/she is going to harm himself/herself or someone else, and in all cases of child abuse, action must be taken in accordance with the law and professional, ethical standards.

2. In the case of a formal administrative referral, limited information, as indicated below, will be released to the appropriate College official with the prior written consent of the employee.

a. Date(s) that the employee was seen at the EAP

b. Whether an assessment was or was not made

c. Whether a plan for problem resolution was or was not made

d. Whether the employee agrees/disagrees with the recommendations

e. Whether the employee is/is not following the recommendations

D. Reporting Time Used for EAP Appointments

If an employee has an initial EAP appointment scheduled during the regular work day, time used should be reported in hour increments as necessity leave. For visits thereafter, if held during the workday, the time used should be reported in hour increments as sick leave.

E. Cost of Services

Up to five sessions per contract year with an EAP counselor are available at no charge to the employee and to each of his/her eligible dependents. After initial visit(s), the EAP counselor may recommend more intensive or specialized professional services that may involve some employee expense. Any costs incurred by utilizing those additional services will be the employee's responsibility. The employee should discuss additional costs and benefit coverage concerns with the EAP staff or with the Benefits Specialist or the Executive Director of Compensation and Benefits.

F. College Jurisdiction

Participation by the College in the Employee Assistance Program does not constitute a waiver of or limit on the College's responsibility to maintain standards of discipline and performance or the right to invoke disciplinary measures. Employees participating in the Employee Assistance Program are expected to maintain satisfactory job performance.

III. Procedure for Formal Administrative Referral

A formal Administrative referral is appropriate when an administrator identifies a job performance problem which cannot be resolved solely by further job orientation, job training, or other informal supervisory-initiated action. (Consultation prior to the referral is made available to administrators by the EAP to assist in the process in making this recommendation.)

1. The administrator should first consult with his/her line administrator to alert him/her that a formal referral to EAP of an employee under his/her charge may be recommended.

2. The administrator should discuss the performance problem directly and confidentially with the employee. Generally, the supervisor will already have suggested an informal referral to the EAP if the unacceptable behavior appears to have been developing into a pattern.

3. The administrator should provide documented examples of specific instances of deteriorating performance (i.e., recurring or excessive absence, decreasing productivity, declining quality of work) including dates, place, and events.

4. The focus of the administrator/employee discussion must remain on job performance. The administrator must avoid analyzing, assessing, or diagnosing the nature of any possible personal problems that may be adversely affecting job performance. He/she must also avoid offering opinions and/or making judgments.

5. After job performance has been discussed, the administrator should describe the services available through the EAP. He/she should stress the fact that counseling contacts are confidential and that information regarding the specific nature of the problem or specific treatment will not be released without the employee's consent.

6. The administrator should explain to the employee that whether the employee elects EAP help or not, job performance is expected to be maintained at a satisfactory level.

7. The administrator should not insist that the employee seek EAP help. The decision to use or not to use EAP help rests solely with the employee as does the responsibility to resolve the performance concern.

8. If the employee chooses to seek help through the EAP, the administrator will notify the EAP of the referral, and an appointment time will be arranged on behalf of the employee or by the employee himself/herself. The "Formal Referral to the Employee Assistance Program" form will be completed by the administrator and the employee during the referral conference. Two copies of the Formal Referral to the Employee Assistance Program forms should be given to the employee. (One copy is for his/her personal file, and one copy is for the EAP counselor. One copy should be kept for the administrator making the referral.)

If an appointment is made and not kept by an employee under formal referral, the EAP will notify the administrator.

9. If the employee rejects the services through EAP, and performance problems are resolved, additional action by the administrator is unnecessary. If performance problems persist or recur, the administrator will take appropriate disciplinary action (i.e., Policy 4.07Policy 4.08Policy 4.31, and Policy 4.38).

Changes approved by Cabinet on February 20, 2006