Canadian Employers Implement Workplace Strategies to Enable Employees to
Achieve Better Work/Life Quality

Measures Designed to Counter Fact that Two-Thirds of Employees Work More than Regular Full-Time Hours Each Week

TORONTO, June 30 /CNW/ - Many Canadian organizations are offering programs to help employees better balance workplace and personal demands on their time, according to a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company. At the majority of employers surveyed, flexible work hours, telecommuting, extra paid time off for personal reasons, education leave, and job sharing are the norm for some or all of their salaried full-time employees. Some organizations also offer a compressed work week, sabbaticals and paid time off for volunteer work.

"Flexible workplace strategies benefit both the employer and its employees," said Rochelle Morandini, a senior consultant in Hewitt Canada's organizational health practice. "These programs, coupled with supportive managers and aligned corporate behaviours, can alleviate conflicting demands, enable employees to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, create a more productive workforce, and even improve overall organizational performance."

The 164 organizations who responded to the Hewitt survey in April reported that only one-third of their employees stick to working the regular full-time work week of between 35 and 40 hours. Forty-five per cent work one to five hours extra a week, 23 per cent work five to ten hours more, and one per cent work ten to 15 additional hours. "With so many employees giving up their personal time to their jobs, progressive organizations are willing to offer them a work schedule that enables them to better meet their personal needs," stated Morandini.

Work/Life Program Prevalence for Salaried Employees

The Hewitt survey findings demonstrate that certain work/life quality programs are quite common in the workplace:

    -   Eighty-six per cent of organizations offer flexible work hours for
        all or a portion of their employee population, although 68 per cent
        require employees to be on the job for certain core hours of the day;

    -   Seventy-seven per cent permit all or some employees to telecommute
        regularly. Ninety per cent of those that do so negotiate the terms
        with individual employees based on an approved business case;

    -   Seventy-four per cent provide extra paid time off for personal
        reasons in addition to regular vacation time;

    -   Sixty-five per cent allow for time off for education leave.
        Twenty-two per cent of organizations that do so provide one to five
        days off per year, while the majority (56 per cent) make decisions on
        a case-by-case basis;

    -   Just over half of employers (54 per cent) enable some or all
        employees to job share;

    -   Forty-three per cent of organizations authorize a compressed work
        week, with only 18 per cent doing so on the basis of the seasonality
        of the company's work;

    -   Thirty-six per cent offer sabbatical leave. Of those, 54 per cent
        provide six to 24 months off, while a further 31 per cent assess
        situations individually. Very few employers (four per cent) pay
        employees during a sabbatical, but of those that do, two-thirds allow
        them to bank a portion of their salary in advance of the leave;

    -   Thirty-two per cent of employers support volunteerism by providing
        employees with extra paid time off. Fifty-six per cent of those that
        do so, allow one to five days per year; 32 per cent have either no
        set policy, sponsor specific activities, or decide on a case-by-case

"All of these initiatives help employees to achieve a more positive work/life experience - they're a step in the right direction," said Morandini. "We can expect these programs to become even more prevalent as employees begin to see them as common practice and demand for them increases. Forward-thinking employers that want to maintain a competitive advantage are thinking about the 'next generation' of flexible workplace strategies, such as eliminating core hours, allowing employees to be completely virtual, and using technology to enable workers to gain global work experience, no matter where they're located."

About Hewitt Associates

Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) provides leading organizations around the world with expert human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions to help them anticipate and solve their most complex benefits, talent, and related financial challenges. Hewitt consults with companies to design and implement a wide range of human resources, retirement, investment management, health management, compensation, and talent management strategies. As a leading outsourcing provider, Hewitt administers health care, retirement, payroll, and other HR programs to millions of employees, their families, and retirees. With a history of exceptional client service since 1940, Hewitt has offices in 33 countries, including Canadian offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Regina, and employs approximately 23,000 associates who are helping make the world a better place to work. For more information, please visit


For further information: For further information: Marcia McDougall, Hewitt Associates, (416) 227-5713,

Organization Profile


More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890