Employee Assistance Program outsourced

UVM’s service to all employees is getting outsourced next year.


The Wellness Corporation in Massachusetts will manage the Employee Assistance Program at UVM starting on Jan. 1 with a network of local providers in Burlington, according to the President’s Office website.


In the past, UVM employees in the Human Resource Service WorkLife department have managed the program, Vice President of Finance Richard Cate said.


“The best practice for this sort of thing is to have a third-party provider doing this work,” Cate said. “It’s very unusual to have any of these services provided by internal [staff].”


“We had an unusual model to begin with,” he said.


Cate said that the University requested a proposal and received bids from different companies. They ultimately selected the Wellness Corporation based on the quality of services and price.


 “The budget for the internal operation was $260,000 and the contract with the third-party provider is $70,000,” Cate said. “The money won’t get saved for a while, but we will look to where the money being saved is going starting next year when we plan the new budget.”


The change in oversight will rid three people of their jobs, two of whom are retiring in January and one that is being laid off, Cate said.


Besides the employment losses, he said the overall outcome of the switch would be a positive effect for the University employees that use the Employee Assistance Program.


The program will provide a much wider array of services available for employees, Cate said.


“Everything from referrals to attorneys; the counseling services will be there and the wellness programs,” he said. “Everything that’s been there before plus these [new services].”