What are employee assistance programmes and how do they work?

Employee assistance programmes are employer-paid schemes that allow employees to contact an independent adviser (by telephone and/or by making an appointment for a meeting) on a confidential basis to discuss any issue that is troubling them, causing stress or interfering with effective job performance or attendance. The service should be completely confidential. Access to advice on non-work-related matters, such as legal rights, finance, personal relationships and family care, can also be given.