Article

Employee Assistance Programs

Sheila H. Akabas

in Encyclopedia of Social Work

Published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press


Published online June 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199975839 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.125

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  • Public Management and Administration
  • Direct Practice and Clinical Social Work
  • Mental and Behavioural Health

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Employee assistance programs (EAPs), or membership assistance programs when sponsored by unions, are designed to improve worker productivity and motivation by responding to problems that workers experience which interfere with job performance and satisfaction. Now a ubiquitous characteristic of American workplaces, the programs are largely staffed by social workers. This entry discusses their historic development, extent, scope, structure, how they are perceived and utilized by different racial and gender populations, and the dilemmas and challenges facing EAPs as they try to define their role, function, and best practices amid emerging trends in the world of work.

Keywords: work; occupational social work; alcoholism and substance abuse; job performance; work/family conflict; employment; troubled employee; unions

Article.  1915 words. 

Subjects: Public Management and Administration ; Direct Practice and Clinical Social Work ; Mental and Behavioural Health

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