Norfolk County Services launches employee assistance programme

Norfolk County Services has replaced its ad-hoc occupational health service with an employee assistance programme (EAP).

The move is aimed at reducing stress and absence levels, and enabling it to gain a better understanding of the causes of stress among its 4,500 employees.

Patricia Fuller, HR director at the facilities management firm, said: “We don’t know why people are off work, so hopefully we will have a more authentic view on sickness levels.”

The organisation hopes to be able to deal with incidents of stress before they escalate into periods of absence and to cut the current absence rate from 4.8% to 3%.

Previously, it funded access to doctor and nurse services on an ad-hoc basis, with referrals to stress counsellors where necessary. Its EAP is now provided by Focus EAP.