The University's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all staff and it provides professional, confidential, voluntary counselling and other assistance. Staff can use the EAP for a wide range of work related or family and personal issues and up to 3 counselling sessions will be paid for by the University. Staff may contact the EAP directly on 1800 81 87 28 (24 hour service) without any intervention or knowledge of the University.
1. Background Information
Australian Catholic University, in line with its Mission and Values, is committed to supporting the psychological wellbeing of staff members. The University provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers staff and their immediate family members access to professional and confidential counselling to assist staff in this regard.
EAP provides a short-term intervention strategy, and is designed to give staff the opportunity to promptly address issues of immediate concern to them. The EAP can assist staff members who require longer-term assistance to source an appropriate alternative provider.
2. Policy Statement
Australian Catholic University recognises the importance of providing support for staff and their immediate families experiencing personal or work related issues and concerns to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Support is provided through the EAP, which offers confidential, professional assistance to staff members and their immediate family members. The University provides funding for EAP services as detailed below.
2.1 EAP Counselling
Face to face or telephone counselling is available through the EAP.
The aim of the EAP is early identification and provision of assistance to help resolve either work-related or personal issues. Matters that may be addressed through the EAP include, but are not limited to:
dealing with work or life change;
issues related to becoming a parent or adjusting to being a parent;
concerns about anxiety, depression or other mental health issues relating to the staff member or someone close to them;
alcohol or substance abuse; gambling or other addictions; and
coping or dealing with grief and/or loss.
2.2 Manager Support Service
Specialised support and advice from the EAP can be accessed by supervisors and managers to assist them in managing workplace issues relating to their roles.
2.3 Critical Incident Management
The EAP can also be requested to provide counselling and support for staff members as part of the University’s response to critical incidents.
3. Policy Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework that will ensure the EAP service meets the University’s requirements and effectively supports the wellbeing of staff, including supervisors and managers. Key principles that apply to the EAP include:
the EAP is available for fixed term and continuing staff members and their immediate families at no cost to them, normally for up to 3 counselling sessions annually;
access to the EAP is voluntary;
in most cases staff will self refer, however with their agreement or at their request referral can be made by their supervisor, relevant senior officer or Human Resources;
the EAP is conducted by a professional accredited provider, independent of the University;
the EAP provider ensures professional counselling is provided by qualified health professionals;
confidentiality will be maintained, which means individual details of staff who attend EAP counselling sessions will not be provided to the University;
the effective operation of the EAP is monitored, evaluated and reviewed regularly; and
quarterly reports are received from the EAP provider that assist the University to support is meeting the needs of staff and the University. These reports do not contain information that identifies individual staff that have used the service.
4. Application of Policy
This policy applies to Australian Catholic University fixed term and continuing staff members, including supervisors and managers.
5. Access to EAP Services
Staff members and their immediate family members, defined as the partner/spouse or child of the staff member are eligible to access the EAP. Normally, staff can access a total of 3 one-hour sessions per calendar year, paid for by the University. Should additional sessions be required, the provider may refer the staff member to an appropriate external agency, or arrange for the staff member to continue with the provider in a private capacity at the staff member’s expense.
In exceptional circumstances, with the recommendation of the counsellor, the Director, Human Resources or their delegate may approve up to three additional visits which will be funded from current EAP contract hours. Exceptional circumstances would require the EAP providing an assessment that the staff member’s wellbeing being is at risk, where the counsellor is confident that up to three additional sessions will provide sufficient support.
5.2 Attendance at Sessions
Staff members can attend EAP appointments funded by the University during work hours. In this case, the staff member must advise either the nominated supervisor or the relevant senior officer if they are accessing the EAP during working hours, which the supervisor or senior officer is required to keep confidential. Staff also have the option to attend counselling appointments outside of work hours without notifying their supervisor or manager.
6. Policy Review
The University annually reviews the effectiveness of the Employee Assistance Program supported by this policy. Where applicable, the review takes account of necessary changes to other relevant University policies and procedures. Any staff member wishing to suggest improvements to this Policy and Procedures is invited to forward their suggestions to the Human Resources Advisory Service.
7. Further Assistance
Any staff member who requires assistance in understanding the Employee Assistance Program Policy should first consult their nominated supervisor. Should further advice be required staff should contact the Human Resources Advisory Service, HR@acu.edu.au or extension 4222.
Information concerning the range of services available from the EAP provider may be obtained from the Human Resources website.