One-half of companies offer summer hours: Survey

Some firms require employees to bank hours, others give time off regardless

With summer approaching, motivating employees during warm, sunny days can be difficult. But many employers are helping workers enjoy the season by offering flexible work arrangements this summer, according to a new survey by Aon Consulting.

The survey of 477 organizations found 48 per cent of respondents offer some kind of summer hours. However, 70 per cent of respondents say they do not offer any form of flexible hours throughout the rest of the year.

The most common summer-hours practice, at 37 per cent, involves working an additional one-half to one hour each day in order to leave earlier on Friday, found the survey.

Another five per cent of respondents say employees work nine- or 10-hour days to take Fridays off and two per cent say employees work extra hours through the month to take the Friday off before a long weekend.

More than one-half of respondents (57 per cent) say they offer some "other" form of flexible arrangements including: working an extra 30 minutes every day from January to May so employees can take up to 35 hours off from May to September; giving employees one day off per summer month; and working an extra 25 minutes or 50 minutes every day to get one-half or one full day off every other week.

Some employers don't require employees to bank hours in return for time off in the summer and instead close the office to allow employees to leave early, found the survey.

Of employers that offer summer hours, 54 per cent have a company-wide policy while 46 per cent require manager approval before employees can access the benefit.

In Canada, because summers are short, flexible work arrangements are a non-financial benefit leveraged by employers to reinforce their work-life balance philosophy and help attract and retain employees, said Aon.

Ultimately, Canadian employers that make an effort to demonstrate this degree of flexibility in their work environments recognize that additional down time, particularly during the summer season, is a tremendous value proposition to employees, said Aon.

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