Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 21:35
Village adopts program that reaches out to workers whose jobs are affected by personal problems
Following a trend set by many companies in the private sector, the Village of Saukville has established an employee assistance program for its workers.
Trustees unanimously approved the program at last week’s Village Board meeting, detailing its offerings in an addition to the employee manual.
Village Administrator Dawn Wagner said the creation of the assistance program is the offshoot of six months of research.
“Upon attending conferences and other training opportunities, and talking with other administrators about some of the personnel challenges that organizations face, implementing an EAP was a logical step to support employees that are facing challenges,” Wagner said.
“It demonstrates that the employer understands and cares about their wellbeing. The program is provided to all village employees, not just the employees that qualify for health insurance.”
Wagner said the health insurance offered through the village only provides limited employee-assistance resources.
“We wanted to take an organic and holistic, proactive approach to employee wellness and benefits,” she said.
Wagner said the prevailing thought among employers is that properly monitored assistance programs promote an employee’s health and workplace productivity.
The primary focus of the program is to offer professional help to employees whose job performance is affected by such problems as alcoholism, drug dependence or emotional disorders.
Referrals will be made at the request of a department supervisor through the village administrator, who has been designated the program coordinator.
All referrals will remain confidential and are made at no cost to the employee.
The wording of the policy stresses that conditions such as alcoholism or drug dependence should be treated like illnesses.
“It is recognized that the social stigma often associated with alcoholism, drug dependency, and emotional illness has no factual basis,” the policy says.
“It is believed that an enlightened public attitude and a realistic acceptance of these behavioral-medical problems as illnesses will encourage employees who suspect that they may have such an illness, even in its early stages, to take advantage of the diagnostic, counseling and treatment services available.”
Because an employee’s job performance can be affected by having to deal with similar problems at home, the assistance program is also being offered to a village worker’s spouse and children.
An employee’s job status will not be jeopardized by refusing to take part in the program, but continued failure to meet job performance standards is grounds for future job actions including dismissal.
The Village Board will receive semi-annual reports about the use of the program, although specific employees will not be named.