Ontario's Family Day Causing Dilemma for Multi-Provincial Employers

November 29, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Canadian employers operating in Ontario and in other provinces are struggling with how to apply an equitable national holiday strategy with the addition of Ontario's new Family Day, according to a Hewitt Associates survey.

In a press release Hewitt said half of employers with national policies on statutory holidays plan to use a floating holiday, allowing employers to designate days when the company or certain parts of the operation will close.Only 12% of employers surveyed indicated they plan to add another day off for workers in their organizations, while 26% were undecided about how to handle the holiday.

Three-quarters of those that operate in Ontario alone or in Ontario and additional parts of the country but have a statutory holiday policy that varies by province will add another paid holiday for employees, the news release said. How employers with union groups will address the new holiday depends on the terms of the unions’ collective agreements.

Of the employers surveyed, 71% operate in Ontario and at least one other province, and of these, over half (58%) have a national policy with respect to statutory holidays, giving the same number of days off to workers in each province, regardless of provincial requirements.

At issue is the lost productivity cost associated with an extra day off, according to Tim Clarke, Canadian benefits practice leader for Hewitt. “Organizations that already provide a generous statutory holiday policy in order to ensure that all their employees, regardless of location, get the same number of non-vacation days off per year have been painted into a corner by the Ontario government,” he said in the release.