Employee Assistance Program
Policy and Procedures
Revised October 1995 Terms for new school board personnel changed March 1998
The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, the Provincial Government and the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association recognize that health, emotional and social problems not associated with one’s job functions can have an effect on a teacher’s job performance, family and students. It is further recognized that the education system is deprived of the full benefit of talent, experience and professional training when personal problems affect job performance or the coping ability of a teacher. Effectively helping and supporting competent teachers is more beneficial than terminating their services because of a serious decline in work performance.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is intended:
To assist all teachers experiencing personal problems or concerns which may adversely affect their job performance.
To assist teachers at the earliest possible moment in remedying personal problems and concerns which may adversely influence their job performance by providing professional assistance.
To promote the well-being of teachers through activities which are designed to prevent problems and enhance work performance.
All persons covered under the Teachers’ Collective Agreements are eligible to seek assistance through the Employee Assistance Program. To access this funding, the teacher must contact one of the EAP coordinators prior to seeing a counsellor. Retired or terminated teachers can access the Employee Assistance Program up to the end of the school year in which they retired/were terminated.
1. To establish and implement guidelines for dealing with any problem which may cause a decline in work performance.
2. To inform teachers about the program.
3. To provide channels of correct and effective referral for assessment, treatment and follow up so as to ensure maximum assistance.
4. To monitor effective policies and procedures governing confidentiality.
EAP COORDINATING COMMITTEE
The EAP Coordinating Committee is comprised of two members each from the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, the Provincial Government, and the Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Association.
The Terms of Reference of the Coordinating Committee are as follows:
1. To review the structure of the program on a periodic basis and make recommendations to the parties for adjustments where appropriate.
2. To monitor the EAP on a regular basis.
3. To define the referral procedure to be used.
4. To ensure that the program and its intent are communicated to all teachers and school boards.
5. To keep updated on employee assistance programs in other areas.
6. To define the nature and scope of the EAP Program.
INTENT OF POLICY
1. Teachers who feel they have a problem are encouraged to seek confidential help through the EAP Coordinators on a voluntary basis. Any decision on the part of the teacher to seek help will be kept confidential and will not interfere with the teacher’s employment.
2. The Employee Assistance Program attempts to prevent or correct job performance difficulties by providing help for the teacher at the earliest possible time. It is not meant to interfere with the private life of a teacher.
3. In cases where unsatisfactory job performance persists and the teacher has not availed of help through a voluntary referral, the Director of Education will initiate a written mandatory referral to the EAP Coordinators.
4. Sick leave provisions of the Collective Agreement may be used if periods of leave from work are necessary.
1. Emphasis will be placed on voluntary self-referrals. Every effort will be made to encourage teachers, either through self realization, helpful suggestions from co-workers, informal suggestions from the principal or director, or an NLTA representative, to initiate entry into the program by making contact with the Employee Assistance Coordinators. This initial contact usually occurs by telephone. To provide confidentiality, the Coordinators have private, direct phone access with a private voice mail service. The Coordinators will meet with the teacher to make an initial assessment of the problem.
2. Another option is through the principal who will meet as early as possible with the teacher to discuss privately the teacher’s documented deteriorating job performance and to inform the teacher of the Employee Assistance Program. It is still up to the teacher to become voluntarily involved in the program. If the teacher’s performance improves, and is maintained, and there is no longer a problem, no further action will be taken.
3. If the teacher fails to bring work performance up to an acceptable standard, then a second interview will take place. The teacher may request that a representative from the NLTA be present. Following this, the director will make a written referral to the EAP Coordinators. Referrals at this point become mandatory referrals.
4. If the teacher refuses to become involved in the Employee Assistance Program, the employer may consider other measures provided for in the Schools Act or in the Collective Agreement.
5. When the teacher is referred, the EAP Coordinators will carry out an assessment session with the teacher to determine which resources may be used for ongoing counselling and/or assistance and arrange for an appointment with the appropriate source of assistance.
6. The resource counsellor will supply the program coordinators with progress reports. The program coordinators will in turn keep the director informed of the level of the teacher’s participation in the program.
Supervisors: Director, Assistant Directors, Principal
Due to the sensitivity of the employer/employee relationship, supervisors will refrain from diagnosing teacher problems, but are expected:
1. To understand fully the Employee Assistance Program policy and referral procedures.
2. To be alert to any change in work patterns.
3. To document unsatisfactory work performance.
4. To discuss any performance problem with the teacher in private, encouraging voluntary participation in the program but not diagnosing the causes.
5. To provide the EAP Coordinator with a report on the teacher’s job performance leading to a mandatory referral.
6. To maintain a strict level of confidentiality concerning information supplied by the teacher, as well as the teacher’s participation in the EAP.
EAP PROGRAM COORDINATOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES
1. To meet with the teacher and to make a preliminary assessment of the problem(s).
2. To refer the teacher to the appropriate resource person(s) and to maintain an ongoing contact and follow up with the teacher.
3. To facilitate prompt referrals.
4. To ensure that each referral is followed up.
5. To maintain a strict level of confidentiality regarding all teachers and families involved in the program.
6. To provide general reports on program participation (statistics and data), without identifying individuals, to the Employee Assistance Program Coordinating Committee.
7. To develop personal contact with and be familiar with diagnostic and treatment resources in the community and elsewhere.
THE TEACHERS’ RESPONSIBILITY
1. The teacher is expected to meet the normal expectations of the job and maintain job performance and attendance at an acceptable level.
2. Where there is a problem detrimentally affecting work performance, the teacher is expected to seek and accept appropriate opportunities to resolve such a problem.
It is clear that the keys to the success of an Employee Assistance Program rest with a firm commitment on the part of school districts, the Department of Education, and the NLTA to want the program to work. This commitment can be realized only through cooperative action of the employer and the distressed teacher’s willingness to participate in the program.
Employee Assistance Programs are now widely accepted as beneficial to both the employee and the employer. Distressed teachers are offered and encouraged to accept help for problems that seriously affect their work, well-being, students and family. The employer benefits by retaining teachers in the work place, so that their skills and knowledge are not lost to the employer, the profession, or to society as a whole.
Finally, the early use of the Employee Assistance Program can contribute significantly to the prevention of serious behavioural problems, a burden not only to the professional life of the employee, but indeed to the whole fabric of our society.
Participation in this Employee Assistance Program shall not be used for disciplinary purposes or in any way restrict or jeopardize participating teachers opportunity for advancement or other work-related alternatives.