The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a service to help state employees and their families who are facing a problem in their lives. It might be a marital problem, alcoholism, drug abuse, financial strain, or perhaps a legal problem. EAP is designed to help the employee handle the problem before it affects his or her job.
- WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED? EAP offers support and referral services. Depending on the nature of the problem, an employee is referred to a program, service, or agency — usually in his or her own community — that can provide the help needed. New York state has a variety of health insurance plans available to employees. Each one of these plans has procedures to follow to assess alcohol, drug, mental health and medical treatment services. At times, these procedures can be complicated and confusing. EAP can help employees and their supervisors so that employees may access appropriate care.
- HOW DOES IT WORK? EAP is free, confidential and voluntary. That is important for you to know. It means that there is no charge for meeting with the EAP coordinator. It means that referrals are not discussed with supervisors, personnel officers or union shop stewards. And the voluntary nature of the program means that the decision to participate in EAP is strictly up to you. A supervisor may recommend that an employee seek help from EAP, for example, but the employee is not required to do so.
- WHY IS EAP IMPORTANT? Most people experience some personal or emotional problems at one time or another. Usually people can handle these problems on their own. But sometimes, the problem can affect job performance. There might be time and attendance problems, low productivity, or trouble getting along with co-workers and supervisors. Eventually there can be disciplinary actions and threats to job security. But, if an employee gets in touch with EAP in the early stages, chances are that help can be arranged before the problem gets out of hand.
- WHO MAKES REFERRALS TO EAP? An employee can go to EAP independently by just picking up the phone or going to see the local EAP coordinator. The service is confidential. An employee with a problem may also be referred to EAP by someone else. For example, a shop steward may suggest EAP to a fellow union member in order to head off future job difficulties. Supervisors, when they detect a serious drop in job performance, are encouraged to refer an employee to the EAP coordinator. The coordinator will tell a supervisor ONLY whether or not you kept your appointment. Although supervisors, personnel officers or shop stewards may suggest the program, they will not receive reports on the nature of the problem or type of assistance offered.
- WHO WILL I SPEAK WITH ABOUT MY PROBLEM/CONCERN? You will first speak to one of the coordinators of EAP, Melinda Ferguson or JoAnna Tobias. Melinda or JoAnna will assess each individual situation and make an appropriate referral.
- HOW DO I PAY FOR FURTHER COUNSELING OR ASSISTANCE IF I NEED IT? Most employees have insurance to assist in paying for necessary services. The EAP coordinator will assist you in answering questions regarding insurance.
- IS EAP ASSISTANCE CONFIDENTIAL? Yes. Any information regarding your situation is kept completely confidential. The EAP coordinator recognizes the sensitivity of personal situations and will not release any information regarding an employee's problem or concern.
- IS MY SUPERVISOR NOTIFIED? A supervisor is not notified when an employee voluntarily comes to EAP for help. Your information is confidential. If a supervisor refers an employee to EAP, the supervisor is only told that you have contacted EAP, but is not told of any details regarding your situation.
- WHERE WOULD I BE MEETING SOMEONE TO DISCUSS MY SITUATION? You can meet in the EAP office in the basement of the Miller Building, Room 20, or other arrangements can be made.