The results are in – Canada’s Top 100 Employers, along with the National Capital Region’s Top Employers for 2019 have been announced. While we see an assortment of reasons organizations made these lists, this year there seems to be a focus on work-life balance, parental leave top ups, developing your employees, giving back to the community and employee wellness.
Rather than the traditional X number of vacation days, X number of sick days, etc., a lot of the top employers in both Canada and the National Capital Region are offering their employees unlimited time off. For example, myTime at Kronos in Montreal gives all Kronites paid time off, whenever they need it, for whatever reason. Sick time, vacation, bereavement, volunteer time… anything to achieve maximum balance between work responsibilities and personal lives. Even if employers aren’t giving their employees unlimited time off, we’re seeing more flexibility – employees are able to work from home, work during the hours that are most convenient for them or work compressed work weeks. We’re also seeing employers offering a paid holiday shutdown between Christmas and New Year’s as opposed to having employees use their regular vacation days.
In the NCR, the majority of the top employers are also encouraging their employees to achieve a better work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements. Again, this includes shortened and compressed work weeks, reduced summer hours, working from home or working flexible hours. Employees at Communications Security Establishment, in addition to their three weeks of starting vacation allowance, have seven personal days, which can be taken as needed. And employees at the Medical Council of Canada are able to take advantage of a $150 telework allowance to purchase equipment for their home office.
Parental Leave Top Ups
We’re seeing a number of the top employers, both in Canada and the NCR, are offering a very generous parental leave top-up for any new parent in their organization. In addition to this, we’re seeing the option to extend parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence. And, upon returning to work, organizations are either offering an onsite daycare or boasting about being in close proximity to one.
Organizations are contributing to the development of their employees. For example, Geotab in Oakville, ON pays 100% tuition, including books, for employees who have identified a course or seminar related to their position or that will assist their advancement. By offering tuition subsidies for relevant courses, employers are encouraging ongoing employee development.
Giving Back to the Community
When it comes to giving back to the community, a number of organizations are offering paid days off for volunteering or they are donating money to employee-chosen causes. Cisco employees in Toronto have five days of paid time off to volunteer at a non-profit organization or school of their choice. This is in addition to their regular PTO days. Giving the opportunity to volunteer at a school, rather than a non-profit or charity is certainly an appealing benefit to parents with young children who might not otherwise have the chance to spend time in the classroom.
There is definitely a focus on employee health and wellness. This may be in the form of gym memberships or onsite fitness facilities, including those that offer instructor-led classes such as yoga or kickboxing, or as simple as providing healthy snacks or breakfast items. More organizations are offering sit-stand work stations in addition to just the traditional sit down work station. Many organizations are also offering health and wellness spending accounts. As part of NAV CANADA’S health benefits plan, employees receive a health spending account of up to $750 each year, as well as a separate wellness spending account of $275. Defense Construction Canada has a health spending account of up to $500 per year.