4.3 Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Scope: Primarily available to SPA employees with permanent appointments (on a self-referred or supervisor-referred basis) and to their immediate family members. However, any university employee may use this program on a request basis.
Purpose: Explains the WSSU Employee Assistance Program.
Winston-Salem State University shall maintain an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist employees in finding solutions to personal problems that may adversely affect job performance. The program provides information, assessment, advice, and referral.
The Employee Assistance Program shall not require or result in any special regulations, privileges, or exemptions from standard administrative practices applicable to job performance requirements. No employee shall have either job security or career opportunities jeopardized or guaranteed by active participation in the program.
- Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the Employee Assistance Program is to combine sound management principles with a humanitarian approach to assist employees in finding solutions to personal problems that affect job performance and productivity. The program is both remedial and preventive and is designed to:
- Identify the problem at the earliest possible stage of development.
- Encourage voluntary participation and self-referral and motivate the individual to
- Refer the individual to the most appropriate community resource for assistance.
The goals of the program are to restore individual productivity; improve efficiency; and retain valued, experienced employees.
- University EAP Administrator
The University EAP Administrator (located in the Department of Human Resources) shall be well informed on current personnel administration and general management principles and practices including job performance evaluation concepts and systems. The University EAP Administrator shall treat all information about employees discretely and confidentially. The University EAP Administrator shall be responsible for the following:
- Developing and maintaining viable working relationships with the staff of the State
Employee Assistance Program (SEAP).
- Ensuring the communication of the program to employees and maintaining an
effective level of program awareness among supervisors and employees.
- Identifying and referring employees in need of service to SEAP.
- Receiving supervisory referrals of employees with patterns of declining job
performance; discussing program benefits, procedures, and alternatives available to
employees; and making appointments for employee with SEAP.
- Being accessible to employees in such a manner that conferences can be conducted
in a timely, confidential, and professional manner.
- State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP)
The State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP) is responsible for the following:
- Providing initial assessment and evaluation of all referrals (supervisory, self referrals, and employees' family members).
- Referring the individual(s) to the most appropriate available resource in a timely and
- Maintaining a network of community resources and being knowledgeable about
available services and their costs.
- Serving as liaison with the University's EAP Administrator.
- Monitoring employee's attendance and completion of services.
- Ensuring discretion and confidentiality of information concerning program
- Participating, as mutually determined, in the university's communication, employee
awareness, and supervisory training programs.
- Responsibilities of University Management Regarding the Educational Assistance Program
Directors and Department Heads are responsible for the following:
- Encouraging supervisory participation in EAP training.
- Considering EAP as an option for each employee whose work performance or
conduct warrants disciplinary action.
NOTE: Managers or supervisors are NOT required to become knowledgeable about the employee's personal problems or attempt to diagnose.
- Responsibilities of the Employee
It is the employee's responsibility to cooperate in the designed recovery plan and to record leave in accordance with the State Personal leave policies and university procedures.
- Supervisory Training
Supervisory training is essential for the efficient implementation of the Employee Assistance Program. Therefore, all supervisors shall undergo EAP training and orientation. The training will emphasize recognition of employee(s) with personal problems and recommend procedures for dealing with these situations in the work setting, as well as procedures for referral.
- Employee Awareness
The University EAP Administrator is responsible for periodic awareness campaigns to the campus community, which shall serve to reinforce management's commitment to the Employee Assistance Program and to dispel employee and supervisory suspicions about the program's intent and results. Employee Assistance Program information shall also be included in employee orientation programs and materials.
An employee shall not be charged leave for the initial assessment with a SEAP Counselor. An employee may take vacation or sick leave as appropriate for continued treatment or rehabilitation, or the employee may request leave without pay. The scheduling of leave shall be coordinated between the employee and the supervisor. The SEAP Counselor can help the employee verify the need for leave to attend counseling should follow-up meetings be necessary. The employee is under no obligation to disclose the reason for leave. If confidentiality is in question, the employee may work through the University EAP Administrator.
- Program Cost
There is no cost to the employee for assessment by the State Employee Assistance Program. However, any costs associated with additional services or treatment are the responsibility of the employee. When additional services are recommended, the employee or family member shall be given a choice of several agencies whenever possible. Special attention shall be given to the possible costs of available services in making referrals. Charges for some services may be covered by the state health plan.
- Confidentiality of Records
All information regarding an employee's participation in EAP shall be treated in strict confidence. No information regarding participation in EAP shall be kept in the employee's personnel file.
a. Self-Referral - All information concerning self-referrals is strictly confidential and shall be released only upon request of the employee. The employee may contact SEAP for assistance without the knowledge of management of the university.
b. Supervisor Referral - Where disciplinary action is concerned, the fact that an employee was given the option to participate in EAP or other related material shall not be kept in the employee's personnel file. The specific nature of an employee's problem or the treatment resource shall not be reported to the university by SEAP. The only information reported by the SEAP Counselor to the University EAP Administrator shall be the following:
- The frequency of appointments.
- Whether the employee is keeping appointments.
- Whether the services have or have not been concluded.
c. Records Maintained by SEAP. The State EAP Office shall maintain data and records necessary for operation and periodic evaluation of the program. Participant data will be maintained both for supervisory referrals and employee "self" referrals.
- Employee Assistance Program and the Disciplinary Process
The Employee Assistance Program complements the disciplinary process but is NOT a part of it. The supervisor shall not offer EAP services as an alternative to disciplinary action. When disciplinary action is appropriate and the supervisor determines that EAP services may be helpful, EAP services should be suggested as an adjunct to disciplinary action. The employee may be motivated only when it is recognized that consequences of not accepting help may include an alternative (dismissal) more intolerable than fear of treatment or exposure.
If, at any stage of the disciplinary process, the employee chooses to use EAP services, such use does not guarantee retention in the job. Participation in the program carries no special privileges. After a reasonable period of time, a satisfactory improvement in job performance must occur or applicable disciplinary action shall be implemented or continued as appropriate.
If an employee who has initiated the assistance process is dismissed, continued help through SEAP shall be available, although not necessarily continued coverage through the employee's health benefits plan.