This summer, KPMG in Canada is helping staff refresh and recharge by making every weekend a long weekend.

As the country prepares to enter the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, the professional services firm is giving employees in Canada seven additional paid days off in July and August that will fall on weekends that don’t already have federal holidays.

“The pandemic has been pretty challenging for everyone and our teams have worked extremely hard to support Canadian businesses,” says Emily Brine, the organization’s managing director of firm operations, talent and culture in Canada. “We wanted to reward the hard work and long hours they’ve put in throughout the pandemic.”

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KPMG’s summer initiative is an expansion of a program it introduced last year in which it gave employees six additional paid days off around the long weekends in the summer, turning them into four-day weekends. On Dec. 23, 2021, the organization shut down its offices in Canada for 11 days so employees had ample time to spend with families and friends over the holidays.

But the company’s wellness initiatives didn’t stop there, says Brine. Among its support offerings to employees over the last year, KPMG also gave its employees in Canada a $500 bonus that they could redeem for cash or gift cards, donate to a charity of their choice or deposit into a registered retirement savings plan or a tax-free savings account. It also topped up employees’ lifestyle-spending accounts with an additional $300 for them to use toward the cost of products and services that support their well-being.

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Having a healthy and resilient workforce is important to the organization, says Brine, noting it’s why the company is focused on employee wellness. She says KPMG is making it a priority to listen to employees and what they value most. And over the last 23 months, they’ve expressed time off to refresh and recharge is critical to their overall health and wellness, she notes.

Brine also says the organization conducted two employee pulse surveys in September and December 2021 in which employees said the extra time off was what they valued most. It’s extremely important that employers ensure staff have time to disconnect, refresh and recharge with their loved ones, she says. As the situation on the ground is changing rapidly, she adds that KPMG plans to continue to listen to employees on what they need most to stay healthy, resilient and engaged in 2022 and beyond.

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