Referring an Employee to the EAP for Support

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

One of the questions we get on a regular basis is in regard to Management Referrals, and how managers can refer an employee to the EAP for support.

There are essentially three types of referral to the EAP service, as summarised below:


This requires no involvement from you as a manager and is the most common way that employees access the EAP.  The employee can simply call into the service via the EAP freephone number or go online via the EAP secure website to access information, advice and support from an EAP expert.

Informal management referral

An employee may approach you in distress or with a concern, and you as a manager can encourage them to call the EAP.  Also known as Signposting, you can remind them of the EAP service, the skills of those who provide the support and EAP’s confidentiality and independence from the organisation.  You might also wish to offer the employee some time and a quiet, private space from where they can call into the EAP service.

If the employee would prefer that you call into the EAP service directly on their behalf, for reasons of confidentiality the employee will need to be present at the time of the call, and confirm that they have given their consent.

Formal management referral

If you identify an employee with concerns or worries and you feel could possibly benefit from EAP support (Structure counselling where appropriate), you can as a manager formally refer them to the service by completing a referral form. This requires the employee’s signature giving their consent.  The employee does not have to take up the support offered but if they choose to, and with the the form completed the EAP service can then reach out directly to the employee to offer the support, advice & guidance.

Managers can request an EAP formal management referral form via their HR Dept.  It is recommended prior to making the formal management referral, that the line-manager liaises directly with their respective HR Manager and in-keeping with the organisations internal policies and procedures.

What if it’s an Emergency ?

“The EAP is NOT an emergency service”.

If there is a legitimate emergency where an employee is at immediate high risk (harm) to themselves or others, or their life is in danger (threat of suicide), call 999 for the appropriate emergency service provider, or request the employee attends A&E.

Is the EAP service really confidential ?

Completely. Confidentiality is at the heart of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and all the EAP advisors and counsellors are bound by their professional code of practice. Furthermore, the EAP service also adheres to the stringent rules and respective guidelines as set-out by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA), and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

E&OE. Sept21

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