Employee Assistance Program
The ACT Government places the highest priority on employee health and wellbeing and proudly offers a choice of counselling and support services for our employees and their families - you don’t need to struggle on your own.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free, professional and confidential services to support you and your immediate family members through both personal and work related issues. You can access help now, or any time you need it.
What is the Employee Assistance Program?
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) panel of providers offers free, professional and confidential services to support you and your immediate family members through both personal and work-related issues.
All employees (permanent and temporary) and members of their immediate family and/or members of their household can access the services of the EAP free of charge with up to six sessions, per issue, for each employee/immediate family member every financial year. You could benefit from EAP support if you are experiencing work-related or personal issues relating to:
- workload or work pressures including career concerns
- emotional stress, anxiety, conflict, tension or depression
- personal or professional relationship programs including dealing with separation or divorce
- health and lifestyle issues (including addiction, alcohol and other drug issues)
- grief and loss
- interpersonal conflict, bullying and harassment, management issues or change in the workplace
- child and family issues
- general health and medical issues or
- financial and legal strain.
You are encouraged to access the EAP service as early as possible. The sooner you seek support, the less likely it is that it will impact on your work and life or escalate into something more serious.
You are not required to seek approval before accessing the EAP service and you are under no obligation to tell anyone (e.g. manager, team leader, colleagues) that you are using the service. You must however, notify your manager if you are leaving the workplace during core hours and you could mention that you have a medical appointment.
On occasions, managers may wish to suggest to a staff member that they may benefit from using the services of an EAP provider. There may be some employees who are in need of help or who are not performing or coping with their work. The decision on whether or not to attend is entirely up to the employee under these circumstances.
Most EAP providers offer a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week service. From 1 October 2017, ACT Government employees and their family members can choose to access any of the below EAP providers:
1800 808 374
Suite 6, City Executive Suites,
88-96 Bunda Street,
1300 687 327
Ethos House, Level 1, Suite 6, 28-36 Ainslie Place, Canberra
Belconnen Specialist Centre, Shop103B Level 1, Westfield Shopping Centre, Belconnen
Tuggeranong Family Medical Practice, Site 237, 140 Anketell Street Tuggeranong
Ochre Medical Centre, 2 Garran Place, Garran
1300 360 364
Tenancy 1, Level 5, 60 Marcus Clarke Street, Civic
Suite 13, Level 1, 23-35 Lathlain St, Belconnen
Lake View House
Level 2, 232 Cowlishaw Street
1300 307 912
Level 3, 161 London Circuit, Civic
If you are receiving counselling support through Optum, a provider under the previous EAP arrangements, you can continue working with Optum until these sessions have finished. After this time, you will need to make arrangements with a new EAP provider, unless there are unusual circumstances, which Optum can assist in facilitating.
EAP Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use EAP providers?
All employees of ACT Government and their immediate family members may use the program whenever they are experiencing personal or work related difficulties. EAP offers you:
- a safe place to discuss concerns knowing you are working with a professional and what you say will remain confidential
- a chance to deal with things before they get out of control the possibility of feeling more contented and productive at work
- ways to learn how balance work and personal life, and
- support to work through personal and family matters.
Supervisors and managers may also seek the guidance of an EAP consultant to:
- determine the appropriateness of referring employees who might be experiencing work performance issues due to personal issues
- locate appropriate referrals to other services for problems that are either work-related or have an apparent impact on an employee or the workplace
- manage complex staff problems including: interpersonal conflict, cultural issues or concerns, team functioning, developing management skills, advice regarding human resources policy development and broader organisational issues plus advice and guidance on ACT Public Service employee performance processes.
Each EAP service provider offers a Managers Hotline Service –a personalised telephone service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. There is also provision for EAP service providers to be asked to conduct group training and counselling.
Will ACT Government or my manager know about my EAP sessions?
Unless you advise your manager that you are attending an EAP session, they will not be informed of your attendance. You must however, notify your manager if you are leaving the workplace during core hours.
Confidentiality is paramount and EAP providers are bound by Australian privacy law, including very strict information about the privacy of health information. No personal or identifiable information is provided to employers about EAP sessions.
High level de-identified statistics and aggregated data is reported back to your employer throughout the year to monitor trends and the services utilised for each EAP provider.
The only time your information will be shared with anyone is if the counsellor is required to be law, as part of a subpoena or where there is a duty of care to ensure the safety of the employee or others. Your information will not be shared unless you authorise this in writing.
What happens when you attend a session?
During initial contact you may be asked to give some general indication of the issue you wish to discuss so the appropriate professional can be available to support you.
Strategies are focused on resolving issues with a short timeframe and generally two or three sessions are sufficient to resolve a particular issue. The counselling discussion is informal, friendly and focused on your needs. It can be either face-to-face or over the phone, whichever option is more convenient for you.
EAP consultants provide advice on resilience strategies and offer referral and follow-up services for anyone requiring additional support.
Who is classified as an immediate family member?
Immediate family means a person who is:
- a domestic partner (including a former domestic partner)
- a child or an adult child (including an adopted child, a step child or an ex nuptial child), parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee or domestic partner of the employee
- a person related to the employee by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander kinship structures, or
- a child through a care and protection order.
Additionally, the HR Director may consider that the definition of ‘immediate family’ be extended for a particular decision involving an employee where exceptional circumstances exist. This might include other close family members or an employee who lives alone and has no-one to nominate as ‘immediate family’, may nominate one person, in similar circumstances, for the purpose of caring circumstances.
How do you access EAP?
You do not have to tell anyone in your workplace that you want to access EAP. You are entitled to six free sessions, per issue, per financial year and you may be able to bring your partner or a family member with you.
When you contact one of the approved EAP providers above you will be asked to identify your employer and at your first appointment you may be asked for proof of identity, such as a payslip, for example.
You may use the EAP in your own time and appointments can be face-to-face or over the phone.