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Employee Assistance Program Procedures

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) As an extension of Western Sydney University's duty of care, staff are entitled to free work based intervention program this includes confidential counselling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This procedure is aligned to Western Sydney University's Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy as it promotes EAP as one of the preventative programs to address psycho-social hazards.

(2) The University recognises that staff who are experiencing work-related, personal or health problems, require support as it may affect their quality of life, general sense of wellbeing and or their work performance.

(3) These Procedures should be read in conjunction with the following:

  1. Code of Conduct
  2. Privacy Policy
  3. Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy
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Section 2 - Definitions

(4)  For the Purpose of this policy:

  1. Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time or casual basis.
  2. EAP means the Employee Assistance Program offered by the University to its staff members.
  3. University means Western Sydney University and includes all subsidiaries.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) The Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy applies.

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Section 4 - Procedures and Implementation

(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; and
  7. the effective operation of the EAP will be monitored, evaluated, and reviewed regularly.

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

  1. Personal issues;
  2. Work/life effectiveness;
  3. Improving relationships;
  4. Interpersonal conflict;
  5. Working relationships;
  6. Life goals;
  7. Gambling and addiction;
  8. Trauma, grief, and loss;
  9. Depression and anxiety;
  10. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support;
  11. Financial and legal concerns;
  12. Positive parenting;
  13. Communication skills;
  14. LGBTIQA+ support;
  15. Disability Challenges;
  16. Health related support;
  17. Drug, alcohol, and substance abuse;
  18. Manager Assistance.

Part A - Eligibility

(8) The EAP is available to all University and University controlled entities staff members and their families. ‘Family’ refers to spouse, partners, parents (including in-laws), children in your care (including adopted and foster).

Part B - Confidentiality

(9) When a staff member decides to access the EAP service there is no requirement to inform anyone of this or the reason for accessing EAP. Should a staff member wish to advise their supervisor that they are attending EAP, the supervisor is required to observe strictest confidentiality and to support the staff member in accessing the EAP.

(10) Conversations and any information the staff member shares with a psychologist will be in strictest confidence and will not be communicated further unless written authorisation is given by the staff member. The University, will not receive information from the psychologist concerning the staff member's situation.

Part C - EAP Provider

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

Part D - Locations of Available Services

(12) Counselling services are available over the phone, face to face, via video conferencing and in person through a number of locations throughout NSW.

Part E - Sessions

(13) Workers and immediate family members are entitled to up to six funded sessions each in a calendar year i.e January to December.

(14) Where workers have used their six EAP sessions for the calendar year and wish to continue seeing the EAP counsellor, it will be at their own cost. Workers may also wish to speak with their general practioner in regards to long-term strategies or a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan.

Part F - Referral

Self Referrals

(15) 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 EAP Ltd and an appropriate counsellor will then be allocated.

Suggested Referral (Early Intervention Strategy)

(16) A colleague, supervisor/manager, HR Business Partner, Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing Unit, family member, doctor, or someone else may recognise that a staff member is distressed or going through a difficult time and suggest using the EAP.

Organisational Referral “By the University”

(17) There may be occasions when supervisors/managers suggest that a staff member seek counselling to assist with personal issues. Staff may decline the offer of counselling assistance. For example Critical Incident Response. The University’s EAP provider can support areas with critical incident response services. Some examples of a critical or traumatic incident include serious workplace accidents, death of a worker, acts of violence or natural disasters directly affecting workers. To arrange critical incident counselling for staff, contact the Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing Unit.

Part G - Time Off work and Leave Requirements

(18) You can attend in your own time or in work time, EAP is available 24 hours per day 7 day per week.

(19) Accessing EAP:

  1. Within work hours:
    1. Initial consultation
      1. No leave request will be required as you will be regarded as being on duty.
    2. Subsequent visits
      1. A leave request will be required and existing leave provisions apply. Arrangements to cover your absence must be made beforehand with your supervisor.
  2. Accessing EAP 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.

Part H - EAP Contacts

(20)   Appointments are made through a trained Access EAP Ltd call centre, 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 call centre operator.

(21) To make an appointment the staff member should:

  1. contact the Access EAP on 1800 818 728 or by visiting the Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing web page. Inform the call centre operator that you are from Western Sydney University and then arrange a suitable time for counselling.
  2. There is a triage process when booking EAP appointments to ensure staff receive the appropriate level of support. Staff will be asked some questions to better understand the urgency of their situation.

(22) For traumatic incidents or crisis counselling 24 Hours 7 days per week, call 1800 81 87 28 and immediate support will be organised. Remember to let the call centre operator know that the matter is urgent.

Part I - Western Sydney University Contacts

(23) The University's Work Health, Safety and Wellbeing (WHS&W) Unit facilitates the management of the EAP on behalf of the University. Information, direction, support, and advice on the EAP services can be obtained by contacting the WHS&W Unit.

Part J - Monitoring the EAP

(24) The University, in conjunction with Access EAP Ltd, will review the operation of the EAP. The WHS&W Unit, 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 K - Further Information

(25) For further information and advice on the services of the EAP please contact the WHS&W Unit.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(26) Nil.