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Use of the Employee Assistance Program Should Be Voluntary, Not Required

Distressed woman talks with co-workerDate: August 2017

The MCIT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a risk management tool designed to provide MCIT member employees access to a qualified counselor to assist in resolving personal issues that may affect performance at work. The Employee Assistance Program should be voluntary for employees to use, not required by the employer. The EAP is designed to be a voluntary program that provides short-term, no-cost services for issues related to finances, work, chemical dependency, stress, relationships and other life concerns.

Some members have required employees with unsatisfactory performance to contact the EAP as part of a performance improvement plan. This approach goes against the voluntary intent and scope of service provided under the program. It also falls outside of MCIT’s contract with Sand Creek.

Best Results Come from Trust

To receive optimal benefit from the EAP, there must be a level of trust between the qualified EAP counselor and the employee. Success requires a collaborative effort. Employees who are forced to contact the EAP as a requirement of a performance improvement plan may be resentful and uncooperative with the EAP counselor. As a result, the employee may receive little to no benefit from the EAP and may be reluctant to reach out for needed assistance in the future. 

Performance improvement plans should focus on job performance, rather than the underlying personal problems that may be affecting an employee’s performance. Instead of making the EAP mandatory, MCIT recommends that the EAP be presented to the employee as an optional resource to help the employee meet performance expectations. 

Supervisor Consultation Available

The MCIT EAP is also available to provide support and consultation for supervisors who are working with employees with performance problems. For more information, contact the MCIT EAP at 1.800.550.MCIT (6248) or

The information contained in this document is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or coverage advice on any specific matter.