We’ve been working with Employee Assistance Programme providers (EAPs) to ensure counsellors and psychotherapists employed by them are valued and treated fairly during the coronavirus crisis.

And we’re pleased this work has already had a positive impact; with one of the country’s largest EAPs announcing an increase in payment rates for online and telephone counselling, a move welcomed by many of our members

We received a string of enquiries from members - through emails, our social media channels and calls to our customer services team - saying that they had suffered a drop in income due to an enforced change to telephone sessions.

Drop in rates

For many this meant bearing the brunt of as much as a 75% drop in rates, with little choice in the matter.

This matter was taken up by our workforce lead Kris Ambler who spoke to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) and several EAPs, who listened to our concerns.

Since then, one company, Health Assured, has announced it will extend the current face to face rate for telephone and video counselling, recognising that because it was currently out of therapists’ own control that they were unable to provide face-to-face counselling.

Challenged the EAPs

Kris said: “I want to thank those members who contacted us to make us aware of their situation and stood their ground and challenged the EAPs at the risk to their own income.

“Understandably, members were very concerned about receiving a reduced rate for the vital work they are carrying out, due to circumstances that were totally beyond their control.

Positive outcome

“I put this point across in my communications with EAPs, as I know many of our members did too. I’m delighted that we’ve secured this positive outcome.

"Credit too must go to our EAP partners, who remain among the biggest employers of counsellors, for recognising the need to support their most valuable asset – their people - in these especially difficult times.

“We'll continue to represent the interests of our members and actively challenge employment practices that put them at economic disadvantage; especially in the current climate.”