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The mental health of employees matters to small employers [Free download: 2024 EAP Report] 

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday June 4, 2024

Updated : Monday June 3, 2024

The mental health of employees has become an important element of the holistic approach towards overall health. Over the more than 25 years that Benefits by Design (BBD) has been helping working Canadians, we’ve seen employee benefits offerings evolve and grow with the demands of the workforce. 

While employee assistance programs have been growing steadily for years, the pandemic spurred more vigorous efforts towards addressing employee mental health. This has resulted in an increase in the number of companies offering an employee assistance program (EAP). 

How an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) Improves Mental Health

New – 2024 Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Report  

The new 2024 Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Report examines the current mental health of employees, and the impact of poor mental health on productivity. It also addresses the questions surrounding the cost and return on investment (ROI) of an EAP. Plus, we analyze BBDs own data in terms of EAP uptake by both group size and industry. 

Download: 2024 Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Report (PDF: 922 KB) 

Key takeaways from the 2024 EAP Report: 

The mental health of employees matters to small employers 

Over the years, the data has changed and evolved. Previously, smaller companies were less likely to offer an EAP, companies between 10 and 50 employees were the most likely, and companies with over 50 employees were in the middle ground. 

This has shifted dramatically in 2024. In fact, the percentage of businesses with less than 10 employees with EAP coverage has more than quadrupled since 2019.  

Organizations size and EAP adoption:
# of employees vs. percentage of groups with an EAP.
1-9 employees = 41.6%
10-24 employees = 20.43%
25-49 employees = 12.38%
50+ employees  = 10.21%

Today, 41% of small companies with 1-9 employees provide EAP coverage to help with the mental health of their employees (See image above). Compared to last year, when just 13% did. Looking back at our 2020 EAP report, we see that less than 9% of employees working for a company with 1-9 employees had access to EAP services.  

We’re excited to see this explosive growth in EAP coverage with these employers. Taking care of the mental health of employees benefits them, their companies, and their employees, leading to higher engagement and productivity.  

Why do we think there’s been such a positive increase in EAP uptake by employers? It could be that adding an EAP is an extremely affordable way to provide at least some hours of counselling for employees.  

“Since most EAP services offer free counselling, they can help employees by removing barriers to access caused by cost.” 

The Cost of Presenteeism and What Employers Can Do to Help


The 2024 Employee Assistance Program report explores the mental health landscape of our country, and what employers can and are doing to help their employees. There are some promising facts and figures demonstrating how these programs can provide significant benefits for employers. From increased job satisfaction and work-life balance, to decreased levels of stress and anxiety, employees enjoyed improved mental health. This leads to higher employee engagement and productivity – giving you better overall business results. Lastly, company culture is buoyed since employees are happier and more resilient.  

Interested in adding an EAP to your benefits plan? Speak to your group insurance advisor today, or download this EAP infosheet for plan sponsors

Want to read the full report and make your own conclusions?

Download: 2024 Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Report (PDF: 922KB)