Employees want support for legal concerns not just mental wellbeing

Towergate Health & Protection has released details from one of its employee assistance programme (EAP) providers, which show an increasing demand for information and advice, not just mental health counselling, when it comes to supporting overall employee health and wellbeing.

As such, employers are being urged to ensure they are providing employees with access to information and advice on concerns such as legal matters, divorce, childcare, housing, disputes with neighbours, wills and more.

Calls from employees seeking advice from the EAP increased by 25% over the last year. The most common reason for employees contacting the EAP on advice-related issues was surrounding their employment (27%). This can include queries regarding areas such as employment rights, pay issues, HR issues, causes of workplace stress and employment law. The next most common need for advice was regarding divorce and separation, which made up 22% of the advice-related calls. Other queries included seeking advice on childcare, housing and civil action.

David Williams, head of group risk at Towergate Health & Wellbeing, says: “Many employers may tend to think of EAPs as there to provide counselling for mental health issues, such as low mood and anxiety. But counselling is just one side of the support that an EAP can offer. The need for advice and information on other areas is growing, particularly on the topics of divorce, separation and housing.”

Towergate Health & Protection is keen to ensure that employers know about all aspects of support available from EAPs, and that this is robustly communicated to employees.

While employees, and indeed their employers, may be aware of the counselling that can be offered by EAPs, they may not be so clear on the full range of support available within the benefit. The areas where employees can seek guidance via an EAP can include consumer disputes, issues between landlords and tenants, wills and probate, motoring queries, immigration, eldercare, personal injury and more. Support can include advice and information from trained legal professionals, who can also put an employee in touch with solicitors or other appropriate experts.

By offering access to such support, employers can help employees to counter any problems they may be experiencing in both work and home life. Providers are also beginning to embed EAPs within wider wellbeing apps which can make them even easier for employees to access.

David Williams added: “When companies support their employees across all four pillars of health and wellbeing – mental, physical, social, and financial – they gain a happier, healthier and more engage workforce that feels valued. Taking problems off their shoulders – via the specific support available within an EAP – is a great way to do this.”