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Ann Marie Stuart

In many ways, casual hospital employees aren’t treated equally to their full-time colleagues, even though they work just as hard, are just as loyal, and are just as dedicated to their jobs. This is especially true when it comes to the benefits offerings they receive from their employers.


Though full-time employees are eligible to join the workplace’s group benefits plan, casual hospital employees—those working fewer than 18 hours per week—are always excluded. The vast majority of insurance carriers don’t allow employees working fewer than 40 hours per week to join group plans.


Of course, employers see this as a problem. It’s a business issue—employees without benefits are more likely to have lower job satisfaction, have lower morale, and seek employment opportunities elsewhere, which increase turnover costs and hurts the bottom line. At the same time, though, employers also care about their workers and want to ensure they’re all happy and healthy—regardless of how many hours they work per week.


Access to the EAP


Not only does limiting access to the group benefits plan mean casual hospital employees are without the financial help they need to pay for medical expenses, but it also excludes them from access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


The Employee Assistance Program is a valuable resource for employees struggling with personal or professional problems that affect their work performance. It is a mental health service available to all employees enrolled in a group plan. Employees can request help and advice for a variety of different problems that may be affecting their mental health. Help is offered for substance abuse, harassment in the workplace, loss and separation, relationship problems, financial or legal concerns, violence, and more.


The EAP offers voluntary and confidential short-term counselling sessions to eligible employees. The service is available at no cost, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


For employees undergoing significant stress due to personal or professional problems they cannot handle on their own, the Employee Assistance Program is invaluable.


All Workers Struggle with Problems


Of course, full-time workers aren’t the only ones who struggle with personal and professional struggles. Yet, they’re the only ones with access to the Employee Assistance Program under traditional group plans.


Casual workers, too, can deal with caregiver issues, loss, addiction, violence, and other serious issues.


Casual hospital employees are left out, without access to the valuable help, advice, and guidance the experienced mental health professionals working at the EAP can offer.


They’re left suffering and struggling on their own. This isn’t good for their mental health and it isn’t good for business, either, as these problems can affect their work performance.


Enter HCP


Employers know casual workers are just as valuable and important as their full-time counterparts. And they understand they have an equal responsibility to help casual workers maintain their mental health and wellness.


As a result, an increasing number of employers are now offering voluntary group benefits plans to their casual workforces. These group plans are available to part-time, retired, and casual employees. Everyone is eligible to join a plan, regardless of health or number of hours worked. The premiums are paid by the employees—but the costs are lower and the benefits are of higher quality than workers could find on their own in the marketplace.


With hospitals offering HCP’s voluntary benefits plans to their workers, casual hospital employees can now have the financial security and financial help they need to pay for medical expenses. Additionally, they now have access to the Employee Assistance Program and can benefit from its valuable services. Every HCP plan offers EAP counselling sessions, at every level of coverage.



Ann Marie Stuart

Ann Marie is an employee benefits professional with over 25 years of experience helping clients understand and leverage their benefits plan in groups across Canada. She has built her expertise with some of the largest employee benefit plan providers and multi-employee benefit trusts in Canada. Getting to know her clients is one of the most enjoyable aspects of her work and helping them navigate the complex nature of employee benefits is one of the most rewarding. Ann Marie loves to hunt for antique and vintage treasures everywhere she goes. She loves the beach and spends as much time as possible with family and friends.
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