Just 27% know their employer offers an employee assistance programme

employee assistance programme EAPWhile 79% of employers provide an employee assistance programme (EAP), only 27% of employees realise one exists in their workplace, according to research by rehabilitation and case management provider HCML.

Its corporate health and wellbeing report found that nearly 85% of respondents said utilisation of their EAP was just 3-5%.

Just 16% of respondents said their EAP offers musculoskeletal support, and less than a third said their EAP provides nutrition support.

More than half (53%) said that the main reason for sickness absence among their workforce is mental health conditions. Meanwhile, 89%% of respondents said they feel it is their role to support employee health and wellbeing, while 52% of employees want more support from their employer to improve their health and wellbeing.

In addition, the report highlighted that the top five areas of health and wellbeing support that employees want are good nutrition (38%), how to keep active (36%), how to sleep well (36%), how to maintain a positive attitude (35%) and how to manage weight (30%).

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Pamela Gellatly, strategic development director at HCML, said: “Our research makes it clear that the right support is not being offered. A rise in sickness absence, particularly when it comes to mental health, shows that existing EAPs are not really identifying or addressing the issues. This is because many EAPs on the market offer a one-size-fits-all approach, which is not representative of the different demographics within any business and the varying complexities that make up mental health conditions.

“There is a need for EAPs now to offer a whole person approach. This highlights the importance of finding a health and wellbeing solution that can address underlying causation and risk factors to reduce the risk of ill health in the workplace and by proxy the worsening issue of workplace absence.”