Benefits Administration Manual - Employee Assistance Program
601. General Information
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was established in March 1982 by Executive Order B96-82. At that time, the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) assumed responsibility for the Program. EAP was established to assist employees and their family members in identifying and gaining control over personal problems which can, and often do, affect both family life and job performance. Through direct counseling and/or referrals, EAP counselors can assist employees in addressing family or marital difficulties, problems with alcohol or drugs, and feelings of stress or depression. Counseling and/or referrals to community resources is also available for financial matters, child and elder care issues, and legal matters.
CalHR's Benefits Division, currently maintains the master agreement with Managed Health Network (MHN) to provide services for any State department that wishes to participate. Departments not participating under the master agreement with MHN must provide their employees' with assessment and referral services under an internal program.
Governor's Executive Order B96-82
Government Code 19816.16
CalHR Rule 599.931 - Non-Represented Employees
Memoranda of Understanding - Rank and File Employees
Employees in participating agencies/departments who are appointed permanent full-time or part-time regardless of their bargaining unit designation are eligible for EAP services. An employee, their spouse/registered domestic partner, and eligible dependents are eligible to receive a specified number of sessions per contract year, see Attachment A - Number of Counseling Sessions
An eligible dependent is defined as an employee's legally married spouse/registered domestic partner and any unmarried children under 23 years of age. Eligible children include natural children, legally adopted children, stepchildren, and children for whom the employee is the legal guardian or who live with the employee in a regular parent/child relationship and are economically dependent upon the employee. If any unmarried child, who upon attaining age 23, is incapable of self-support because of physical disability or mental incapacity and he/she is dependent on the eligible employee for support and care, he/she shall continue to be considered a dependent under this definition, provided that proof of such incapacity is provided to the contractor. A child ceases to be a dependent upon marriage, when eligible as an employee, or upon entry full time into any branch of the Armed Forces.
Seasonal employees and retired annuitants are eligible for EAP services during employment.
Enrollment into the program is automatic; therefore, completion of an enrollment document is not necessary.
604. Extension of EAP Coverage Following Layoff
A number of employee bargaining unit contracts contain a provision for a six-month extension of EAP services. Specifically, Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 15, 20, and 21 all contain language in their contracts that allows their employees to receive a six-month extension of these services following layoff from State service. This extension also applies to Excluded employees. This extension is for time only and NOT an increase in benefits or visits. For instance, if a Unit 1 employee has already used one of three visits and is then laid off, the employee would only be entitled to the remaining two visits during the six-month extension period following layoff.
605. Survivor Benefits
Survivor benefits include
- Surviving family members of employees who had Level 1 benefits, and family members of CHP employees who had Level 2 benefits may use EAP services for six months after the death of an employee.
- Eligibility for EAP services for surviving family members of all other employees' stops at the end of the month the death occurred.
Excluded employees and those in Bargaining Units 1, 3, 4, 11, 15, 20, and 21 are allowed to receive a six-month extension to their EAP benefit following layoff from State Service. The extension is for time only and not an increase in benefits or visits.
606. Managed Health Network
The Employee Assistance Program is both voluntary and confidential. Employees or their family members may access the program services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by calling MHN toll free at 1-866-EAP-4SOC (866-327-4762) or TDD 1-800-327-0801 for the hearing impaired. These numbers are connected to the MHN Service Center. The following information will be asked in order to schedule an appointment with one of their providers who specializes in the area needed:
- Name, address, and telephone number.
- Is person calling a covered employee or dependent?
- Covered employee's department, length of service, collective bargaining identification code, and Social Security number.
- Reason for calling.
- Information source (How did the employee/dependent find out about EAP?).
- Birth date of employee/dependent.
- Marital Status of employee/dependent.
- Gender of employee/dependent, if questionable by name.
- Area employee/dependent would like to be seen.
All providers are fully licensed and qualified in their areas of specialty. These include psychologists, social workers, marriage and family counselors, financial advisors, child and elder care counselors, enrolled IRS agents, retirement counselors and lawyers.
All records, which contain information pertaining to the identity, diagnosis, or treatment of anyone accessing EAP, are confidential. Disclosure shall occur only under the following circumstances:
- When authorized by signed consent.
- When records are subpoenaed by court order and are not otherwise protected by law.
- When the clinician determines that the life or safety of the client or others is seriously threatened.
- When cases of child or elder abuse are suspected.
- When the employee/family member signs a release to provide information to a third party.
Records on individuals must be maintained in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579.
608. Level of Counseling Services/Problem Types
The State's EAP has three levels of counseling services. The level of service and number of sessions for which an employee is eligible depends upon his/her collective bargaining identification code (CBID). Covered State employees are eligible for a specified number of sessions for themselves and their eligible family members per contract year for the following four problem types:
- Alcohol Abuse
- Drug Abuse
- Marital and Family Issues
- Emotional, Personal, and Stress Concerns
Work and Life Services are also available for the following:
- Legal Concerns
- Financial Issues
- Child and Elder Care Assistance
- Federal Tax Assistance
- Pre-Retirement Planning
- Daily Living Services
There are three ways that EAP services can be accessed:
This type of referral occurs as a result of an employee recognizing a problem in either his/her own or a dependent's life. As a result of this recognition, the employee and/or dependent may contact the service provider for assessment, short-term counseling, and possible referral.
Informal Referral (Supervisor Recommendation)
This type of referral occurs when a supervisor wants to help an employee whom the supervisor senses is struggling with a personal problem; or perhaps an employee has asked a supervisor for help in solving a problem. The supervisor can play a key role in helping the employee get immediate assistance by suggesting that he/she use EAP.
Formal Supervisor Referral
A formal referral is utilized when there is no improvement in an employee's work performance or other areas of deficiency which were discussed in their informal corrective meeting. A supervisor will talk directly with an MHN Management Consultant (MC) by calling 1-866-EAP-4SOC (1-866-327-4762). The MC will advise the supervisor of the best way to approach the employee regarding EAP. In addition, the MC will provide guidance to help the supervisor prepare a formal letter and meet with the employee to present the problem and the expectations.
A Supervisor's Handbook is available from the departmental EAP Coordinator. The handbook provides specific guidelines for making a formal supervisory referral.
610. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)
CISD services can be provided on a fee-for-service basis when an eligible employee has an immediate need for psychological support stemming from a reaction to a life-threatening situation or traumatic incident related to his/her environment. The incident may be the death of an employee, an assault in or around the workplace, or a natural disaster. The debriefing, either group or individual, can be accomplished by telephone or face-to-face and should be provided as soon after the event as is practically feasible and clinically appropriate, not to exceed 72 hours after the event.
The State of California contracts directly with MHN for EAP services. Provided the employee/department uses MHN clinicians, there is no cost to the employee or their family members for the initial authorized sessions. If, however, there is a need for continued services with MHN providers beyond these sessions, fees and other arrangements need to be discussed with the provider. Whether treatment is sought through an outside provider or with the MHN provider, the employee/dependent is responsible for the cost incurred.
CISD services and other specialized orientation and training services are arranged directly between each department requiring the services and MHN. Departments may obtain these services by contracting directly on a fee-for-service basis with MHN. A department must have a Standard Agreement (Std. 213) on file with the State Controller's Office prior to authorizing any specialized services.
612. Employee Assistance Program Coordinator (EAPC)
Each State department is required to have a departmental EAPC. The EAPC will be responsible for the following aspects of the program:
- Plan, develop, implement, promote, and manage your department's EAP.
- Distribute brochures, business cards, copies of the monthly EAP newsletter and other EAP-related materials to your department's employees.
- Post EAP posters in highly visible areas to facilitate promotion of services.
- Protect and maintain the confidentiality of all EAP and employee/client information for your department.
- Advertise and encourage employees, supervisors, and managers to attend MHN's orientation sessions for employees and supervisors given in your area.
- Conduct and/or coordinate EAP training and orientation sessions for your department's supervisors, managers, and employees.
- Ensure employees and all levels of management are educated about the EAP procedures, services available, how to access services, and confidentiality of all EAP information for your department.
- Consult with your department's supervisors and managers on how to appropriately use EAP as a resource tool in addressing job performance issues.
- Serve as the liaison between your department and CalHR and the EAP contractor regarding EAP issues.
- Ensure a separate contract between your department and the contractor is in place for CISD's and special fee-for-services trainings.
- Contact the contractor to set up and authorize CISD's or other special services for your department.
613. Internal Programs
Each appointing authority maintaining an internal program must have an approved EAP policy and procedure statement on file with CalHR. This should include, at a minimum, the following information:
- A written policy establishing the department's program support and defining types of problems addressed by EAP, including how the internal program best fits department program needs.
- Adopted and published procedures including:
Statistical information regarding the utilization of services.
Details of any other desirable components that enhance the program's effectiveness.
- How and where records are to be maintained, for what length of time, who will have access, and how and when information will be released and to whom.
- Procedures for supervisors to follow when referring employees to the program. This should include the identification of deficiencies in job performance, documentation, work improvement discussion, and subsequent performance evaluations.
- Self-referral procedures indicating how individuals can access the services with assurance that confidentiality will be maintained.
- A client satisfaction document to be distributed to all users that surveys all phases of program participation including the user's opinion of number of sessions allotted, therapist's help and interest, accessibility of coordinators, management support for time off, confidentiality, etc.
- Methods of communication devices to be used in disseminating program information to employees throughout the organization, (e.g., orientations, e-mails, brochures, newsletters, articles, paycheck stuffers, etc.).
- Method of verification of providers' and clinicians' professional status