Article 35

Employee Assistance and Counseling

Section 1--Policy Statement

A.  The Administration and the Union jointly recognize that treatable illnesses and disorders occur in the work force as a result of alcohol, drug and dangerous substance abuse.  The parties further recognize that whenever such conditions adversely impact on an employee's work performance, attendance, reliability or conduct, the employee should constructively address these problems through participation in counseling and treatment where appropriate.

B.  Therefore, the Employer and the Union will work together to encourage    troubled employees whose work performance is adversely affected to pursue    counseling help or treatment.

Section 2--Referrals/Community Resources

The Administration agrees to assist employees in securing counseling services when work performance, attendance, reliability or conduct are adversely affected as a result of alcohol, drug or dangerous substance abuse.  This may be accomplished through providing information and encouragement to the employee to use any of the following types of services where available:

A.   Referrals to available counseling services in the local community.

B.  Counseling services provided by the Administration either onsite or on an as-needed basis.

C.  Counseling services provided through joint efforts with other Federal Agencies.

Section 3--Voluntary Participation and Employee Responsibility

Although the existence and functions of counseling and referral programs will be publicized to employees, no employee will be required to participate or be penalized for merely declining referral to a counseling service.  Should any counseling appointment or treatment require an absence from duty, the employee must get sick leave approval or make other appropriate  arrangements with his/her supervisor.