What we learned surveying 200 Canadian businesses about paid time off
The concept of taking paid time off from work, whether due to illness, a personal emergency, or to go on vacation, seems simple. Employers understand that their employees’ have lives and needs outside of the office, and can offer time off policies to meet those needs.
For their part, employees should feel like they can take the time off they need while ensuring their work gets done before and after the break.
The difficulty of paid time off
Well—that might work in a perfect world. But implementing and managing time off is far more complex in real life.
Employers must balance employee needs with business objectives, recruitment strategies with resources, and company culture with legislative requirements. It’s not so simple after all.
As an HR specialist organization, some of the most common questions we’re asked are about time off management:
- Am I legally required to offer paid sick leave?
- Are all employees eligible for paid time off?
- Why are so many startups offering unlimited vacation? Can I afford that?
And the most frequently asked time off question of all:
- How much time off—and what types—should I be offering my employees?
We decided it was time to find out by creating a Canada-wide Time Off Benchmarks report, based on actual time off policies used by small businesses in Canada. Download it here for free, or read on for our key findings.
The impact of time off
Creating an effective, generous, and tailored time off policy matters more than you might think.
It can affect everything from payroll updates to your business’ overall productivity. Here are just a few metrics to think about:
Compliance: Paid time off (PTO) is a legal requirement in Canadian workplaces. Employers must enforce the minimum mandatory vacation (two weeks, in most regions) and be aware of public holidays, leaves of absence, and vacation pay rules.
Talent acquisition and retention: PTO is part of an employee’s overall compensation package and can be a powerful tool to attract new hires and keep top performers on board.
Employee engagement and productivity: Employees who are well-rested are more likely to produce better work, more efficiently. They’re also more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement at work.
Workplace health and wellness: Vacation is good for you! From decreased stress and depression to reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, PTO plays a huge role in employee health and wellness.
Time off in Canada: Survey key findings
So now that we know why time off matters, let’s get back to the question of how much and what types of time off to offer.
First off, it’s important to note that there is no single ‘time off template’ that will work for everyone. Every organization has different needs, cultures, and policies.
That being said, we wanted to establish guidelines and best practices for the many small and medium sized businesses who want to update their policies and stay competitive within their industries.
For the survey, we collected information from more than 200 companies using our time off management software.
The final product, our 2017 Time Off Benchmarks Report, reveals that many small businesses are going above and beyond legislated minimums.
For example, even though paid sick days aren’t a legal requirement, 97.8% of companies offer this benefit to their employees.
Another encouraging sign is that the average employee in our survey receives 15.4 paid vacation days per year —that’s one full week more than the statutory minimum of just ten!
With so much on the line, creating a time off policy shouldn’t be left to guesswork. Whether you’re ready to update your existing time off policy, create a new one, or simply want to know where you company stands, this is the place to start.
Then tell us: how does your company’s time off policy stack up?
About Kira Charron
Kira Charron is a Canadian HR advocate and writer for Collage.co, an all-in-one HR and benefits platform built exclusively for Canadian small businesses. Through easy-to-use HR technology, a team of trained CHRP professionals, and original research like this, Collage is helping businesses and their teams become more efficient and engaged.