Making Life Easier for employees and families

Pam Wyss

Pam Wyss, Employee Assistance Coordinator for King County

Everyone tries to keep work life and personal life separate. But what happens when personal life starts to affect work life? King County understands that sometimes personal life can subsume everything else, and when that happens the Making Life Easier program is there to help.

A free service offered to all King County employees and their dependents, MLE can help with personal counseling, financial and legal help, along with providing support with child, adult and elder care.

“No matter what the problem is, whether it is substance abuse, legal advice or advice on how to budget, Making Life Easier is there to help,” said Pam Wyss, Employee Assistance Coordinator for King County.

Very rarely can someone separate completely their personal and work life, Wyss said. With that in mind, MLE works with employees to develop plans to help them cope with what is happening with their personal life both during work hours and after it. Plans can include helping find child care services so parents don’t need to worry about their children after school hours, dealing with a loved one’s serious illness, or even help with something as devastating as domestic violence or substance abuse.

The MLE program also offers legal advice for any legal problem from divorce to settling a dispute with a neighbor. Employees and dependents are allowed a 30 minute consultation with an attorney, after which they can decide to employ more legal services at a discounted rate.

The program also hopes to give employees and dependents ease of mind when dealing with an ailing parent or dependent adult.

“What if your mother lives in New York and has early onset dementia? Making Life Easier can help with finding care services in different states, too,” Wyss said.

Because the line between personal and work life is often blurred, MLE sometimes works closely with the Employee Assistance Program on cases. Certain aspects of an issue, like helping create a check-in schedule with a child that misses school often, are handled by MLE while other parts such as coaching supervisors and employees to work together to deal with the employee’s lateness or absenteeism are handled by EAP.

“The wellbeing of our employees is the most important thing to us,” Wyss said. “Because their personal lives are important, we value that too.”

Wyss hopes that all employees will feel comfortable using MLE’s services if they need them and that employees’ partners and dependents are aware that the services are extended to them.

While many employees remain unaware of MLE’s services, King County still ranks higher than the national average on employees using the program. At 14 percent utilization, King County has nearly three times more participation then the national average of 5 percent.

Employees or their dependent family members should call 1-888-874-7290 or go to http://www.kcmakinglifeeasier.com/login (user name KING COUNTY) to get more information on the Making Life Easier program.