Employee Assistance Funds
Supporting Employees in Times of Hardship
Want to use an EAF for coronavirus-related employee assistance? Read this post on three things you should first consider. Plus, watch this short EAF fireside chat about addressing employee hardships in the time of COVID-19.
What is an Employee Assistance Fund?
An Employee Assistance Fund (EAF), also known as an Employee Relief Fund or an Employee Crisis Fund, is a program to help employees cope with unexpected hardships that place undue financial stress on them and their families. It empowers you to provide assistance by supporting your workforce financially through an external nonprofit partner that increases the flexibility of what hardships the fund can cover and lowers the administrative burden to the company and the employee.
Click here to access a recording to hear what America's Charities President and CEO Jim Starr had to say at the US Chamber Foundation's #BusinessSolves Conference, Nov. 18, about how companies can support the emotional and financial needs of their employees during the pandemic and beyond.
No matter the scale or severity of the crisis, employee financial stress hurts companies and their employees. A Federal Reserve study found that employee financial stress costs employers an average of $5,000 per employee, per year, in lost productivity. Serving as a mechanism for employers to focus their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts inward on employee needs and wellness, many companies establish these funds to:
- Demonstrate true compassion and caring for employees: Assist employees with financial challenges.
- Increase productivity, and employee engagement and retention: Retention skyrockets when employers show workers they care. The Limeade Institute reported that 60% of workers who felt cared for planned to stay for the next three years; 94% felt engaged.
- Protect employee privacy and maintain confidentiality: Companies can unobtrusively help employees recover more quickly while employee information remains confidential.
- Empower the workforce to come together: Co-workers are provided an opportunity to help their colleagues and build an internal culture.
- Easily integrate with a giving and engagement program: Companies can fund an EAF in a variety of ways including setting aside budget or empowering their employees to donate to the EAF through its workplace giving program. If you don’t have an existing program, your EAF can be the cornerstone for your new CSR or wellness program.
- Support employees where they are: Your EAF program can support your employees wherever they may be - in your office or at home, in-person or remote, located in the US or internationally.
What clients are saying:
“Thank you for helping Berkshire Bank get our EAF up and running so quickly. It was a super smooth process and the America’s Charities team was great to work with, providing relevant insights that helped us rapidly create a program to meet our employees’ needs today and into the future.” -- Gary R. Levante, SVP, Corporate Responsibility & Culture, Berkshire Bank
Why Partner with America’s Charities?
Outsourcing your company’s EAF to America’s Charities offers special legal and tax advantages and supports your company’s needs in order to offer EAFs to employees in times of distress and hardship.
- Financially Prudent: Donations are tax-deductible and grants are tax-free when using America’s Charities to facilitate the program.
- Mitigates Risk: Provides anonymity to the applicant, protects your employees’ privacy, and manages the sensitive application review and appeals process, minimizing your risk and legal ramifications.
- Reduces Overhead: Eliminates the administrative burden required to successfully implement and manage an EAF program.
- Easier Management: Allows an objective third party to review applications, conduct necessary follow-up, approve grants or make recommendations, and serve as the point of contact to answer any questions that your employees have.
EAF Solution and Partnership Highlights:
Easy to Set Up, Custom-Designed Program
With an already-established infrastructure, America’s Charities can quickly launch and mobilize your company’s EAF, allowing your company to get started and scale faster. We can distribute assistance funds within the US and internationally.
- Each EAF is tailored to the parameters and qualifications provided by your company, ensuring it aligns with your corporate values and culture.
- Whether your company needs to develop an EAF program and policies from scratch or needs to outsource an existing EAF program, America’s Charities can provide a wide range of services, including:
- Complete program design and development
- Design online application and documentation requirements
- Application review and follow-up
- Grant approval
- Distribution of assistance funds within the US and internationally
- Regular reporting of fund activity
- On-demand employee support
- Overall program facilitation, for employees
- Easy integration into a workplace giving, employee engagement, or wellness program
Tax Advantages, Privacy, and Flexibility
- Because America’s Charities is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, choosing us as your partner offers your company legal and tax benefits you would not receive if you a for-profit entity or in-house team administered your fund.
- Each contribution to the EAF is tax-deductible, and all grants made from the EAF are tax-free.
- Working with America’s Charities helps your company maintain employees’ privacy and confidentiality, as well as increase participation, as workers may be less inclined to unveil personal financial hardships to their employers than they would a faceless third party.
- From designing and reviewing applications to making grant decisions and disbursing funds, handling the appeals process, and more, America’s Charities increases the flexibility of what hardships your company’s fund can cover and lowers the administrative burden to your company and the employee.
- America’s Charities stays ahead of rules and regulations so you don’t have to.
- There a few different ways to set up an EAF. America’s Charities’ decades of experience in corporate relationships, customer service, and funds management ensures that your EAF is managed professionally, and we can help you determine the best way to establish your program.
- We have the capacity and expertise to support your workforce based domestically or internationally.
- Our EAF clients range from very large organizations -- including one of the world’s largest private research universities and a leading global healthcare solutions company; to mid-size -- including a financial institution and a shared business service; to smaller -- including an energy storage company and a microbrewery.
- America’s Charities understands the ever-changing rules and regulations companies face with its EAF.
Since 1980, America's Charities has managed more than $750 million in funds on behalf of hundreds of businesses. Read more about our full suite of employee workplace giving and business philanthropy solutions, and complete the form on this page to speak with our team about your EAF program goals and needs.
More information: Read our article, "Coronavirus Concerns? Show Your Workers You Care (You Really Care) in Three Steps, and take these three things into consideration if you're setting up an EAF specifically for COVID-19.