Innovative work / life balance program gets University of Calgary recognition


The University of Calgary is the first Canadian employer to receive the Work-Life Progress Seal of Distinction for their work/life balance programs. One of the university’s most successful work/life balance initiatives is its employee and family assistance program (EFAP). Through programs and counselling, an EFAP can help employees with any number of issues—mental health, family-related and work-related—which can affect an employee at work.

As part of its restructuring three years ago, the university moved their EFAP program off-campus and moved to the Ceridian’s LifeWorks EFAP model —a 24-7 short-term counselling model for employees and their families.

LifeWorks operates through a 1-800 number. With LifeWorks EFAP, calls are triaged to ensure the employee is not a danger to herself or others. The counsellor will then ask for more details and connect the employee with the appropriate local resource or service. A short-term counselling model typically consists of four or five sessions, which is usually enough to get the employee back on track. Longer-term counselling can be arranged; however, those extra sessions aren’t covered under the EFAP benefit.

The old on-site model has been popular with many postsecondary institutions in the past. Since many of these institutions would have some kind of model on-site for the students, and they would tend to mirror what they do for the students, for the employees. However, with the former on-site EFAP model, employees were concerned about being seen on campus accessing EFAP services. Now, there is more privacy and confidentiality for employees who access a 1-800 number, as well as improved overall reporting on the types of services employees access.

Read the full article, here.

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