According to CompEAP, 93% of large employers offered EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs) in 2012 compared with 46% in 2005. While EAPs are becoming more common in the workplace, other employers offer their employees group legal insurance instead. In this blog post, we’ll go over what these services are and how they may benefit employees who use them.
Let’s start with EAPs, Employee Assistance Programs. An EAP is a workplace service for which employers pay. The intent of this service is to help workers effectively deal with work-life stressors, remain productive at work, and reduce employee turnover in the workplace. Often EAPs are available to the employee’s family members as well as the employee.
Generally, when an employer offers an EAP, employees can call a phone number or visit a website to get professional assistance with a variety of concerns. Some EAPs include legal assistance, such as help creating an estate planning or securing a divorce.
When it comes to a legal EAP, the benefits offered to employees often include a complimentary initial consultation with a pre-vetted attorney and a discounted rate on legal fees. Some legal EAP programs may offer free basic services such as preparing a simple will, placing a phone call on the employee’s behalf, or reviewing a document. If the employee needs additional legal assistance or services that go beyond this scope, services are often offered to them at a discounted hourly rate or reduced-rate flat fee.
Another way employers may provide for employees’ legal needs is through group legal insurance. For example, in Sacramento, many California State workers receive group legal insurance through ARAG. When an employee signs up for this benefit, they pay a reasonable monthly premium to access a pre-approved network of attorneys for legal assistance.
Employees with a group legal insurance plan can usually view attorney/firm profiles on the provider’s website or app and contact the attorney/firm of their choice. They can also call customer service to get help selecting an attorney/firm to meet their needs.
When legal troubles arise, attorney’s fees can quickly add up. Sometimes people procrastinate dealing with legal matters due to cost, even when doing so would be enormously beneficial to them and their family, such as setting up an estate plan. Because of this, a legal EAP or legal insurance can be a helpful tool for employees. It is certainly worth investigating further if your employer offers legal benefits such as these.
If you work for a company that offers legal EAP services or group legal insurance, be sure to ask your employer for more information so you can decide what will best meet your needs.