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Employee Assistance Program

Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University in its commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment has recognised the need to provide adequate support for staff experiencing personal or work related problems by providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

(2) The University has secured the services of Access Programs Australia Ltd to provide professional counselling services for all employees and their immediate families free of charge as part of the University EAP.

(3) The Employee Assistance Program aims to address any problems, work related or personal which may affect the work performance, safety or health of staff. You do not have to wait until a problem becomes a big issue, you may just need to talk an issue through or debrief with someone outside of your own situation. Staff needing assistance are encouraged to take advantage of the program. Managers and supervisors must support and encourage the use of the program.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) Nil.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Western Sydney University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. As part of this commitment, the University recognises the need to provide adequate support for staff and their immediate families experiencing personal or work related problems.

(6) The University will provide access to confidential, professional assistance for all employees and their immediate families through the provision of the EAP. The key principles of the EAP ensure that:

  1. the EAP will be made available to all staff members and their immediate families at no cost to them;
  2. access to the EAP will be voluntary;
  3. professional counselling will be provided by qualified psychologists;
  4. strictest confidentiality will be maintained;
  5. staff members seeking assistance will not jeopardise their employment in any way;
  6. the EAP will be conducted by a professional accredited provider, independent of the University;
  7. the effective operation of the EAP will be monitored, evaluated and reviewed regularly.

(7) The EAP offers assistance for problems such as:

  1. work stress
  2. interpersonal conflict
  3. depression
  4. marriage and family problems
  5. alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems
  6. emotional stress or trauma
  7. relationship difficulties
  8. financial problems
  9. grief and bereavement
  10. gambling worries
  11. career issues
  12. work related problems
  13. healthy life style; i.e. diet, exercise, smoking etc.

Part A - Eligibility

(8) The EAP is available to all University staff members and their families. "Family" refers to spouse, partners (including same sex and de-facto), parents (including in-laws), children (including adopted, foster) - anyone that you consider part of your family.

Part B - Confidentiality

(9) A vital feature of an EAP is the high level of confidentiality and respect for an individual's privacy. No one needs to know that you are utilising the services of the EAP. Should you advise your supervisor that you are attending the EAP, he/she is required to observe strictest confidentiality and to support you in accessing the EAP. You do not need to discuss the reason for your visit with anyone unless you want to.

(10) Confidentiality also means that no one, including the University, will receive information from the counsellor concerning your situation. Conversations and any information you share with a counsellor will be in strictest confidence and will not be communicated further unless your written authorisation is given.

Part C - EAP Provider

(11) The University has contracted Access Programs Australia Ltd to provide the EAP. This organisation is a professional, accredited provider, independent of the University. Qualified psychologists offering a wide range of professional counselling services are used.

Part D - Locations of Available Services

(12) Counselling services are available in a number of locations including Penrith, Parramatta, Sydney, NSW Regional areas and interstate.

Part E - Charges

(13) The EAP service is free of charge to all University staff members and their families. In some instances, a counsellor may offer you the option, in addition to their services, of a referral to a specialist agency, such as a solicitor, accountant, medical practitioner or specialist. If a referral is accepted, any costs involved are to be met by the employee or family member. Every effort will be made to refer staff to an agency which either does not charge a fee for services, or charges on a scale related to the staff member's ability to pay, and is located within the local area.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part F - Referral

Self Referrals

(14) The EAP is designed to encourage self referrals where the employee has personal problems which they want to discuss in a private and confidential setting without anyone in the organisation being involved in any way. Arrangements for an appointment can be made directly by telephoning Access Programs Australia Ltd on the numbers below and inform the receptionist that they are from Western Sydney University.

Suggested Referral (Early Intervention Strategy)

(15) Although the Employee Assistance Program is designed to encourage self referral, there will be occasions where it becomes necessary for supervisors to assist staff by offering the option of counselling to those whose work performance has declined. Staff retain the right to either use or refuse the offer of counselling assistance.

Organisational Referral "By the University"

(16) This type of referral may occur when work performance has declined below an acceptable level and disciplinary action would normally result. The organisational referral is offered as a constructive alternative to discipline.

Part G - Time Off Work and Leave Requirements

(17) You can attend in your own time or in work time.

(18) If you choose to advise your supervisor that you are attending the EAP, (remember no details are required), you need to do the following:

  1. Visits in work time
    1. Initial Visit
      1. No leave form will be required as you will be regarded as being on duty. You will need, however, to advise your supervisor beforehand that you are attending the EAP.
    2. Subsequent Visits
      1. A leave form will be required and existing leave provisions apply. Arrangements to cover your absence must be made beforehand with your supervisor. If you state "EAP" as the reason on a leave application it will normally be automatically approved, subject to your leave entitlements. The leave does not have to be for a whole day.
  2. Visits in your own time
    1. These may include after hours, before or after core time, on a flexi day/rostered day off or while you are on holidays. You do not need to discuss your attendance with anyone from work and no one from work will be advised that you have attended. This mode of access to the EAP ensures maximum confidentiality for you and your family.

Part H - Monitoring the EAP

(19) The University, in conjunction with Access Programs Australia Ltd, will review the operation of the EAP. The Work Health and Safety Unit (WHS Unit), on behalf of the Office of Human Resources, will undertake ongoing assessment and monitoring of the EAP program to ensure that:

  1. the principles and spirit of the EAP are being adhered to by all parties;
  2. emphasis is placed on workplace preventative initiatives to address problems that become apparent;
  3. complete confidentiality is maintained at all times;
  4. access to the EAP is available and maintained.

Part I - EAP Contacts

(20) Appointments are made through a trained Access Programs Australia Ltd receptionist requiring only the minimum of information to make a booking at the most suitable location. If the problem is urgent, this should be indicated to the receptionist.

(21) To make an appointment the employee should contact Access Programs Australia Ltd on one of the numbers below and inform the receptionist that they are from Western Sydney University and then arrange a suitable time.

(22) To make an appointment from anywhere in Australia during office hours, call 1800 81 87 28. Alternatively you can speak to the EAP on the phone. Just call and ask for a telephone appointment.

(23) For traumatic incidents or crisis counselling 24 Hours, call 1800 81 87 28.

Part J - Western Sydney University Contacts

(24) The University's Work Health and Safety Unit (WHS Unit) facilitates the management of the EAP on behalf of the Office of Human Resources. Information, direction, support and advice on the EAP services can be obtained by contacting your nearest Work Health and Safety Unit or by contacting your nearest Office of Human Resources Team staff.

Part K - Further Information

(25) For further information and advice on the services of the EAP please contact your nearest Work Health and Safety Unit or the Office of Human Resources.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(26) Nil.