Nearly a third (31 per cent) of employees believe flexible hours and more sick days are the support tools they need most from employers as they endure the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Pollara Strategic Insights in partnership with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Enterprise Canada and Prosperity Project.

The survey, which polled more than 1,500 working Canadians, found hazard pay for essential workers (27 per cent), flexible working locations (22 per cent) and opportunities to take time off work without losing their position (21 per cent) were ranked as required support tools.

“Canadians know what they need,” said Lesli Martin, Pollara’s vice-president, in a press release. “It isn’t any one thing, but a range of supports in all aspects of our lives.”

Read: A third of employees believe full flexibility is best working model: survey

The survey found a gender divide in terms of the supports Canadians want. Female respondents were more likely than their male counterparts to want an increase in the number of sick days (35 per cent, compared to 27 per cent) and hazard pay (30 per cent, compared to 24 per cent). And although more male respondents said they need flexible working hours compared to women (33 per cent versus 28 per cent), more female respondents said they need the ability to take time off from work without losing their position (24 per cent, compared to 18 per cent of men).

Among working parents, 33 per cent cited flexible working hours as a top need from employers, followed by sick days (30 per cent), hazard pay (23 per cent) and flexible working locations (22 per cent).

Close to a third (27 per cent) of working mothers were also more likely to want support for advancing their career, learning and development, compared to 12 per cent of working fathers. They were also more likely to need opportunities to reduce working hours or job share without losing their jobs (22 per cent, compared to 15 per cent for working fathers).

Read: How Accenture, Traction on Demand are supporting working parents in 2022