Employee Assistance Criteria
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CRITERIA AND GUIDELINES FOR RECEIVING ASSISTANCE
(Revised July 11, 2013)
The Corrections Foundation was established as a non-profit in 1996 to support the programs, personnel, and services of the Florida Department of Corrections (DC).
Program Summary and Purpose
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was established to support DC employees through emergency crisis situations. Contributing memberships, particularly from corrections’ personnel help support the Foundation’s EAP. These Criteria and Guidelines will enable the Corrections Foundation to assist employees who are experiencing an emergency crisis promptly and efficiently. They will also help to ensure that the level of need for each request is met by giving those initiating the request (Warden, Circuit Administrator and Central Office Director) more information concerning the assistance available through the EAP.
The person assistance is requested for must be a current Department of Corrections employee or contractor providing direct services to the Dept. of Corrections – such as through medical privatization. A higher amount of financial assistance is provided for employees who are also members of the Corrections Foundation. Membership must be in effect 30 days prior to the crisis or emergency. If an employee is not a member at the time of the crisis a minimum amount of non-member assistance will be given.
Financial assistance is available for crisis situations involving critical health, illness, injuries and other emergency situations affecting Florida Department of Corrections employees and/or their immediate family (spouse and dependent children who are under 18.) and with out-of-pocket expenses exceeding $1,000, so that there is a presumption of need. See Financial Assistance Guidelines on pages 3-5. The Foundation’s EAP does not provide assistance for non-emergency situations or general financial hardship issues. The Program is not a supplemental health insurance and not intended to cover co-payments and routine medical expenses. The Program is intended to assist when employees are facing an emergency crisis situation, which could be an extreme illness, critical accident, house fire or other tragedy facing the employee or an immediate family member.
Assistance for emergencies and crisis situations are considered on a case by case basis. Employees should explore all other avenues for assistance, such as donated sick leave, insurance benefits, etc, prior to contacting the Corrections Foundation.
In some cases an employee may be given financial assistance if a hardship exists due to caring for a critically ill parent or grandchild if the employee is the legal guardian or caretaker.
Procedures for Requesting Assistance
Any Florida Department of Corrections employee, including OPS, whether a member of the Foundation or not, can submit a written request for assistance through the chain of command indicated below.
The first step is for an employee to review the criteria to determine if their situation one that we provide assistance for and write a letter to their warden, circuit administrator or supervisor explaining their crisis situation and need for financial assistance and request that the Employee Assistance Request form be submitted to the Foundation.
The warden, circuit administrator and/or supervisor will then complete the Employee Assistance Request form to convey the situation to the Corrections Foundation. Email Sheri Logue at email@example.com if you need a request form.
The request form should be coordinated through the appropriate offices as outlined below.
|Work Location||Request Initiator||Final Review/Signature|
|Community Corrections||Circuit Administrator||Corrections Foundation|
|Service Centers||Employee Supervisor||Corrections Foundation|
|Central Office||Bureau Chief||Corrections Foundation|
Examples of crisis situations, as well as situations that will not be considered are provided for you on pages three through four of this document
All requests, once reviewed by the Warden, Circuit Administrator, Service Center Supervisor or Bureau Chief, should be sent to the attention of Sheri Logue, Administrative Director, Corrections Foundation, 501 S. Calhoun Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-2500.
The request can also be faxed to (850) 410-4411 or scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method).
If the request is approved a check will be issued to the employee and the initiating office (Warden, Circuit Administrator or Central Office Director) will be notified of the final decision via email.
Financial Assistance Guidelines
The Corrections Foundation, based on knowledge they receive from the Employee Assistance Request Form, will make a determination of critical emergency need and level of assistance available for each situation.
Please complete the entire form. Any incomplete forms will be returned to the initiator to complete.
The Corrections Foundation Board requests that all Employee Assistance Requests submitted regardless of whether or not the employee’s supervisor, circuit administrator, warden or supervisor recommends assistance or not. If assistance is not recommended there is a place on the form to note the reason and then the request should be forwarded to the Corrections Foundation for our files.
SCENARIOS THAT MEET CRITERIA FOR ASSISTANCE
- Excessive medical expenses ($1,000 or more) not covered by an employee’s health insurance coverage related to an accident, serious injury, and/or critical illness. Routine medical bills alone such as copayments and prescriptions do not meet the level of a critical emergency. However if the employee is on leave without pay with routine medical bills the request will be considered.
- Medical expenses preceding the death of an employee or their immediate family member (spouse or dependent child). If medical bills or emergency transport expenses accompany the death of an immediate family member the Foundation may be able to assist. If assistance is needed for funeral arrangements only, with no other outstanding medical expenses, the request would be outside of the criteria for assistance.
- Travel to care for a critically ill parent, adult child, sibling or grandparent of the employee and/or to attend the funeral of an employees’ family member if the travel distance creates a financial hardship. This hardship may include leave without pay, extended travel for medical treatments or responsibility for a parent’s medical bills. Typically out of state travel is involved but situations of frequent out of town travel to assist an ill parent, adult child, sibling or grandparent may also qualify. A minimum amount of assistance is provided for travel and this assistance does not extend to in-laws, cousins and/or aunts/uncles, etc.
- Fire (minimum assistance provided) we encourage employees to obtain fire insurance whether they are renting or own their home.
- Natural Disaster – $50 -$250 based on availability of funds. (Assistance for natural disasters is funded separately than the EAP.)
- Other emergency or crisis situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If in doubt wardens, circuit administrators and supervisors are encouraged to give us a call to discuss the situation at 850-717-3712 or 850-717-3714.
SCENARIOS THAT DO NOT MEET CRITERIA FOR ASSISTANCE
NOTE: Each request should be based upon an unexpected emergency or crisis and a critical need for assistance must be demonstrated. If a critical need can not be demonstrated a request should not be recommended for assistance; however it should still be sent to the Corrections Foundation for our records.
- An employee’s extended family (parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, in-laws, etc.) dies unexpectedly and help is needed with funeral arrangements and/or medical expenses. EXCEPTION: If an employee needs help with travel for an out-of-state funeral for a parent, grandparent or sibling, because of the unexpected travel hardship the request would be considered for minimal assistance. This exception does not extend to in-laws, aunts, uncles or cousins.
- An employee’s parent, sibling, grandparent or extended family experiences a house fire.
- An employee’s spouse or dependent child dies unexpectedly and life insurance is adequate to cover expenses and future care of the employee. Or if a family death was not preceded by excessive medical bills and assistance is only needed for funeral expenses.
- An employee resigns or retires from the department and is no longer a current DC employee or contractor providing services to the FL Dept. of Corrections.
- An employee is pending dismissal or the Warden or Circuit Administrator has concerns over the legitimacy of the request for Employee Assistance. The request should still be sent to the Corrections Foundation with a recommendation to “not approve” so that the request may be kept on file.
- An employee is on medical leave, but has insurance coverage such as an HMO which covers 100% and belongs to the state sick-leave pool. The employee has not missed a paycheck due to the illness and has not experienced substantial out-of-pocket medical bills of $1,000 or more and is not on leave without pay.
- Dentist and eye doctor bills are outside the realm of assistance.
- Major medical situations will that meet the criteria will be considered and routine medical bills such as co-payments or prescriptions will not.
- Home or auto burglary or vandalism of the employee’s home or auto. These situations would be covered by homeowners and auto insurance.
- Maternity leave.
- Financial hardships that are not created by an unexpected tragedy such as critical illness or accident can not be considered for financial assistance. A level of critical need must be established before assistance is granted.
Examples of hardships that do not qualify for assistance include:
- An employee’s air conditioning in their home needs to be replaced.
- An employee’s car and only means of transportation breaks down.
- An employee’s car is damaged in an accident, accident without injuries.
- An employee’s bills are higher than their income and they do not have the means to meet their obligations.
- An employee cannot meet financial obligations due to a recent divorce and legal expenses. Please note you can purchase legal insurance.
- An employee is a victim of identity theft and is in need for legal representation. Please note you can purchase legal insurance.
- An employee’s spouse loses their job and household income has declined.
Limitations on Assistance
Employee assistance for DC employee family emergencies shall be granted based on available resources. Memberships must be in existence for 30 days prior to the crisis situation and members may only receive assistance once in an 18-month period and a maximum of 3 times in a lifetime.
Assistance is available for DC employees and their immediate family only. Immediate family is defined as spouse and dependent children residing with the member. In some cases an employee may be given financial assistance for his/her parents or grandchildren, if the employee is the primary caregiver and the family member resides with the employee and/or a financial hardship has been placed on the employee due to care of a critically ill family member.
Membership in the Corrections Foundation is not intended to create a right to receive assistance from the EAP. The decision to provide assistance is a matter of discretion retained by the Corrections Foundation. This decision is based upon the criteria within this document, Corrections Foundation interpretation of the critical nature of a request and the availability of funds.
Not a Personal Insurance Policy
The EAP is not intended to serve as an insurance policy or replace the need for fire, flood, home, auto, health and/or life insurance. Unfortunately, resources are not adequate enough to assist families with expenses that insurance is meant to cover.
The death of a loved one is an event that every one of our members will someday experience and the funds available are just not large enough to assist with funeral expenses. We strongly encourage you to seek life insurance coverage to prepare for funeral expenses for your entire family and other insurance policies to prepare for unexpected tragedies.
Becoming a Member
DC employees and contractors may become a member of the Corrections Foundation to help others in need and to prepare if they should ever need to be a recipient of assistance due to a situation that meets the EAP criteria. Several options are available for becoming a contributing member of the Foundation. Membership forms are available from the Corrections Foundation at www.correctionsfoundation.org. Members may sign up through Payroll Deduction Authorization and choose to contribute a minimum of $1.00 or they may send a check for $26.00 for a one-year annual membership to the Corrections Foundation, or they may send a check for $500.00 to become a lifetime member. Funds received through payroll deduction, annual membership dues and special fundraisers are used to assist employees and their families in times of emergency. A small 15% administrative fee is utilized for operating costs for the Employee Assistance Program.
Members who are contract employees and not DC State employees are considered “Supporting Members” and can join by completing an annual membership form and submitting a check for $26 annually. If they were members prior to the privatization of health services and become a supporting member they are eligible for employee assistance benefits as long as they are doing the work of the Florida Department of Corrections; however, if their position changes and the work they do is not for the FL Dept. of Corrections the extension of these benefits will cease. Contract employees both medical and non-medical may take part in other benefits of membership. This level of membership supports the mission of the Corrections Foundation to promote public safety through the support of programs, personnel and services of the Florida Department of Corrections.
Rights and Obligations of Contributing Members
As more employees become members, the Corrections Foundation will be better able to provide needed assistance. Members are asked to help further the mission of the Corrections Foundation and bring to the attention of the Foundation board and staff information that may help to build and improve the organization. The Corrections Foundation shall keep contributing members informed of activities through email newsletters, our website www.correctionsfoundation.org and various publications.
The Foundation keeps accurate and current membership records including the name and location of all members at its principal office. At any given time, records can be provided on employees who are members of the Foundation either through payroll deduction, annual membership or lifetime membership by institution/facility.
As the reviewing authority for the EAP, Circuit Administrators, Wardens will be entrusted with personal, confidential information on fellow DC employees. It is of the utmost importance that the confidentiality of this information be respected as it is considered for financial assistance. Florida laws restrict the distribution and protect the confidentiality of medical information. The EAP form has a section for an employee’s signature granting the initiating authority permission to review the information and proceed for approval by the Corrections Foundation. The information on the request should at no time be discussed with anyone other than the initiating Warden, Circuit Administrator, Regional Director and Assistant Secretary’s offices, the employee’s direct supervisor or Corrections Foundation Board or staff.
Questions, Concerns, Ongoing Support
The Corrections Foundation staff is available at any time to answer questions or concerns regarding the EAP and these procedures. There can be exceptions to any rule and the uniqueness of every situation has not been addressed in this document. If you feel an employee has a legitimate request which doesn’t fit the above guidelines the Foundation Board of Directors can be asked to consider individual requests. Feel free to contact the Corrections Foundation staff any time.
For more information about the Corrections Foundation and the EAP, please contact Chris Akins, Executive Director (850) 717-3715 or Sheri Logue, Administrative Director at (850) 717-3714.
Revised: July 11, 2013