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EAP Dollars and Sense

People often ask what the benefit or return on investment is for providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their staff. Various figures have been shared around over the years, but I often find the list below to be very useful calcuations:

  1. For every dollar they invest in an EAP, employers generally save anywhere from $5 to $16 [Source: What Works: Workplaces without Drugs. U.S. Department of Labour (1990)]

  2. The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported savings of $350,000 over a five-year period in reduced sickness absenteeism for employees with alcohol problems. [Source: "Taking Inventory, "published in the EAPA Exchange, (July 1992), EAP Association]

  3. A small company (70 employees) reduced its workers' compensation and vehicular accident cost by $75,000 by establishing an EAP with an emphasis on safety awareness. [Source: Substance Abuse Prevention: It's Your Business. Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1992)]

  4. A study of 122 staff who used the EAP at the University of Michigan showed that the university saved a minimum of $65,341 over a five-year period for those employees because of improved retention rates and reduced sick leave. The study showed strong evidence that those employees who used the EAP services took less sick leave and were retained in the work force for longer periods of time than the overall staff. [Source: "Michigan Study Shows EAP Clients Use Less Sick Leave, Stay Longer," by Keith Brubnsen, MSW, CEAP, published in the EAPA Exchange, (August 1994), EAPAssociation]

  5. An examination of EAP data from the Orange County, Florida, Public Schools indicate that cost-offset studies can be performed for smaller employers. EAP users' medical claims costs were higher, on average, for the pre-EAP year and declined for each year after EAP use. EAP clients took an average of 10 percent more sick leave than the district average in the year before their EAP use; after EAP use the clients took less sick leave than the comparison group. By the sixth year after EAP use, the average sick leave use was 26 percent lower than the district average. [Source: "Cost-Effectiveness and Preventive Implications of Employee Assistance Programs," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publication]

  6. The Principal Behavioural Health Care EAP showed that EAP enrolled employees had slightly greater health care costs prior to enrolment than other employees. Following intervention, overall medical costs of EAP enrolees decreased 29%. After EAP enrolment, mental health and social functioning improved significantly, and health care costs fell to below those of the general population. [Source: Employee Assistance Research Supplement, May/June 1997]

  7. In a study conducted for McDonnell Douglas:

  • EAP clients treated for Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) dependency missed 44 percent fewer days of work

  • EAP clients treated for psychiatric conditions missed 34 percent fewer days compared with those who sought treatment on their own.

  • At the end of 4 years, EAP clients treated for AOD dependency had a turnover rate of 7.5 percent, compared with a 40 percent turnover rate for employees who received treatment using other routes.

  • The medical claims of spouses and dependents who accessed treatment through EAP referral were 35 percent less than those of spouses and dependents who did not use the EAP.

  • The average per case employee medical claim for EAP clients with alcoholism was $9,898 less than that of employees who entered treatment without using the EAP.

[Source: "Cost-Effectiveness and Preventive Implications of Employee Assistance Programs," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publication]

This white paper is written by Shane Warren in the year of one thousand nine hundred and eight and revised in the year two thousand and eight for information purposes to his clients and associates to aid the successful expression of its work with the community.

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