The average usage figure for employee assistance programmes (EAPs) among UK employers in 2022 reached 12%, compared with 11.4% last year, according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA).
The report Financial return on EAPs 2023: Managing the rise of complexity and employees at risk was based on evidence provided by HR professionals through the EAPA’s return on investment (ROI) calculator, using anonymised information from 11 million employees.
Figures from between October 2021 and October 2022 showed that for every £1.00 spent on an EAP in the UK, employers saw an average ROI of £10.85. This compared with an average of £8.00 in 2020 and £7.27 in 2019.
Employers with 5,000 or more staff saw an ROI of £16.11, and those with 1,000 to 4,999 workers saw an £18.69 ROI. For employers with fewer than 250 employees, the average ROI was £9.60.
The ROI in Northern Ireland jumped from £7.91 to £20.83, with usage rising from 10.2% to 21%, and Scotland’s went from £8.05 to £14.46, with EAP usage increasing from 10.8% to 13%.
The agriculture sector saw a significant ROI rise, from £7.83 to £15.87, and usage from 5.2% to 13.5%.
Paul Roberts, board member and research project lead at EAPA UK, said: “We’ve entered a new age of dependency on EAP services. There’s consistently more volume of calls – whereas there used to be known peaks on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings – now the peaks can come at any time.
“Our members are telling us that EAPs are receiving more complex, longer and more intense calls on a regular basis. They also inform us that there has been a significant increase in referrals from GPs due to NHS waiting times for access to mental health support, which can be more than two years. The majority of calls received by EAPs continue to be due to anxiety and depression.”