Aiding troubled employees: The prevalence, cost, and characteristics of employee assistance programs in the United States
Objectives. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are job-based programs designed to identify and assist troubled employees. This study determines the prevalence, cost, and characteristics of these programs in the United States by worksite size, industry, and census region.
Methods. A stratified national probability sample of more than 6400 private, nonagricultural US worksites with 50 or more full-time employees was contacted with a computer-assisted telephone interviewing protocol. More than 3200 worksites responded and were eligible, with a response rate of 90%.
Results. Approximately 33% of all private, nonagricultural worksites with 50 or more full-time employees currently offer EAP services to their employees, an 8.9% increase over 1985. These programs are more likely to be found in larger worksites and in the communications/utilities/transportation industries. The most popular model is an external provider, and the median annual cost per eligible employee for internal and external programs was $21.83 and $18.09, respectively.
Conclusions. EAPs are becoming a more prevalent point of access to health care for workers with personal problems such as substance abuse, family problems, or emotional distress.