Time off is a hot topic in this brave new world, but are employers equipped to navigate time off policies? Do employees feel comfortable talking about time off in their workplace? And more importantly, do employers have their people’s backs when they need to step away?
Over the past month, we reached out to our community to ask some important questions about employee leaves and time off. Although this gives us a glimpse into how some people feel about their workplace culture and policies, it’s not meant to be a representation of all Canadian employees.
There’s a common theme when it comes to employees discussing time off in their workplace – discomfort.
While Canadian employees living in Ontario have a right to protected, unpaid leaves of absence for reasons outlined under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), Twitter users were unanimous in feeling hesitant to ask their employer for time off.
LinkedIn, however, told a bit of a different story. About half of respondents identified they had actually never taken a leave, and although worry remained a theme for 30% of employees, only a small number felt supported and comfortable asking for time off when they needed it.
This only left us with more questions. Even when we flipped the prompt, asking if employees would feel comfortable chatting with their employer about time off, we got similar results.
We were pleased to see that 36% of LinkedIn folks would have no issue bringing up the conversation, though the nerves were high with a handful claiming it was merely out of the question for them.
Some Instagram users even shared with us that they have faked being physically ill to take a mental health day off. Why do they feel the need to do this?
It turns out some members of our community have been told ‘no’. The majority of people on Instagram said their employer gave them their time. But a quarter were denied.
This wasn’t true across all platforms, though we wondered if this is where some hesitation stemmed from.
Mental health is another topic we’ve been discussing. The conversation surrounding mental health in the workplace has spiked due to COVID-19 and many companies across Canada are making their overdue effort. But the results of our poll reflect a gap in how much work is still to be done.
The hesitation remained on Twitter.
Some employees are accustomed to working through their struggles, rather than resting.
While the majority of folks on LinkedIn got the rest they needed, things were still pretty split, with several people feeling the need to work through their burnout rather than taking that time.
This post resonated with folks. While it’s important we work to break down barriers separating physical health from mental health, we shouldn’t discourage our people from accessing existing policies.
Your employees shouldn’t feel the need to lie to get out of work when they mentally aren’t fit that day. Open the floor for open discussion about mental health and wellbeing, and your people and your business will thank you.
There is a clear issue when it comes to supporting our people in getting the rest they need to accomplish great work. We must do a better job of developing policies and resources that create a culture of acceptance and belonging.
Shout out to the companies who are working to make that happen – you are driving lasting change for workplaces across the country.
Thank you to our community for participating. Look out for weekly polls on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog for information and support for both employers and their people.