Spill costs less per therapy session than an EAP, because 10x more people use it.
How much does an employee assistance programme (EAP) cost in the UK?
The cost of an employee assistance programme depends on the level of support you're looking for, the industry you're in, and the size of your company. So before looking at how much an EAP costs, it's important to understand the number of employees who typically need to use the service. It's estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the UK and the USA will experience a mental health problem this year. That’s 25% of your employees who are likely to struggle.
We’re going to focus on that 25% to explore the average cost of an EAP, but if we imagine mental health on a big spectrum between being in crisis and absolutely thriving, around 55% of your team will actually find themselves teetering on the mid-low end (read: stressed and tired) at any one time.
Therapy is proven to be an effective solution for people actively experiencing mental health problems. Your team can access online resources and a limited number of counselling and therapy sessions through most EAPs, which usually charge your business per employee, per month, over a contract period of 1-3 years. But do the sums add up? Let’s see.
How much should proper therapy cost, per employee?
Let’s take a company with 100 employees. We’ll call them Piet Depsi.
🧠 25 of those employees will need mental health support this year.
🗓 If each of those people completed a course of treatment (6 sessions), that would total 150 therapy sessions over the year.
💰 Assuming each therapist is paid fairly for their time and experience, a reasonable price per therapy session is £70.
👉 So £70 x 150 sessions / 100 employees / 12 months = a total cost of £8.75 per employee, per month.
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EAP pricing models
There are several pricing models for EAPs depending on the services included, budget, and the size of the company. The three most popular employee assistance programme pricing models are:
- Cost per use: this pricing model includes services like telephone support and wellbeing resources for a flat monthly fee, with an option for additional services such as in-person therapy to be added on at an extra charge.
- Cost per call: this pricing model covers the basic service provision for the EAP platform at a fixed cost, with an additional charge for every call an employee makes to the EAP.
- Cost per employee: This model is the most popular, providing a fixed cost per employee based on their expected EAP service use throughout the year.
Let's look at the most popular EAP pricing model in a little more detail...
How much do EAPs cost, per employee?
The price of an EAP is typically set between 40p and £1.25 per employee, per month, depending on the size of your business. That might sound like music to your Finance team’s ears, but it’s a fraction of the money needed to pay for necessary treatment. So, how do they do it?
Quite simply, the proportion of workers actually interacting with their EAP is very low – and it’s not in an EAP’s interests to boost uptake, either.
Between 5.4% and 10.4% of employees will typically interact with their EAP in a year. That’s well below the total number of people who need support. And there’s a big difference between “interacting” with an EAP by reading an online resource or calling the helpline, and actually being triaged into therapy sessions.
Only as few as 5.4% of employees will use their company's EAP in a given year
One study into EAPs in the US cites ‘low’ clinical EAP usage between 1 and 3%, and ‘high’ clinical EAP usage between 6 and 8%. We think that’s a good estimate of the number of people actually accessing any therapy through their EAP. It doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily finished a course of treatment, mind. The same study says that on average people complete just 4 sessions out of 8.
So, EAPs can (and do) build low usage into their pricing models. Let’s go back to Piet Depsi.
👉 £70 a session x 3 employees x completing 4 sessions = £840 annually
👉 Divide that by 100 employees and 12 months = 70p per employee, per month
If we remember that 25% of people will struggle with their mental health in a year, that’s 22 people in Piet Depsi’s team that need therapy to manage poor mental health who aren’t being supported by their EAP. Not to mention anyone that could use therapy to proactively maintain their mental wellbeing who’s also missing out.
Spill is typically used by 50% of employees in a year. That means up to 10 times as many people get support vs. an EAP.
Why is EAP usage so low?
Traditionally, EAPs put several barriers in place before an employee can talk to a(n expensive) qualified therapist. And bearing in mind lots of people put off seeking help until they really feel quite unwell, any delay can feel like a big mental setback.
If the low, low price of an EAP is starting to lose its shine, we hear you.
For an easy way to evaluate your whole EAP offering, use our handy checklist 👇
Offer your team mental health support they’ll actually use
See how much Spill’s proactive mental health support would cost your business. (Full disclosure: it’ll be more than the 70p an EAP might cost, but still less than a monthly social at the pub.)
- Access to qualified therapists built straight into Slack or MS Teams
- Used by 50% of your team on average
- Book a next-day session or a course of therapy anonymously
- Get therapist-led manager training and resources
- Actively track the mood of your team
- 30-day rolling contract
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Calculate the cost and benefit of using an EAP
Spill gets used 10x more than an EAP, making it cheaper per session actually used