Australian Catholic University, in line with its Mission and Values, is committed to supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of all staff members. The University provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers staff members and their immediate family members access to professional and confidential counselling.
EAP provides a short-term solutions-focussed intervention strategy, and is designed to give staff members 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 members 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, telephone or online 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.
2.3 Wellbeing Resources
ACU staff members can access a range of resources from the EAP provider to assist wit wellbeing, including relaxation and mindfulness medications, through their website.
2.4 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 members, including supervisors and managers. Key principles that apply to the EAP include:
the EAP is available for all 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 members 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 members 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 members and the University. These reports do not contain information that identifies individual staff members that have used the service.
4. Application of Policy
This policy applies to Australian Catholic University 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 members can access up to 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 service, a GP (General Practitioner) for ongoing support, 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. Revisions made to this Policy
Major, Minor or Editorial
19 Dec 2016
Alignment with ACU Policy on Policies template.
15 Nov 2019
Updated to state EAP program is available to all staff of the University.
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 is invited to forward their suggestions to Human Resources.
7. Further Assistance
Any staff member who requires assistance in understanding this policy should first consult their nominated supervisor who is responsible for the implementation and operation of these arrangements in their work area. Should further information or advice be required staff should visit Service Central.