The majority of Canadian employers are aware of workers who can’t conform to their normal schedule because of family responsibilities while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a survey by the Conference Board of Canada, 86 per cent of employers are aware they have employees in these situations. Three-quarters (76 per cent) of these employers said they have workers that can do their jobs with some flexibility accommodations, while 65 per cent said they have employees who can’t work their full hours and 41 per cent have employees who can’t work at all.

Many (83 per cent) employers are tackling these constraints through flexible working time. About half are allowing for reduced hours (55 per cent) or flex time around core hours (56 per cent). A third (34 per cent) are using compressed work weeks, while some are using techniques like shift splitting (28 per cent) or job sharing (11 per cent). Just one per cent of employers said they aren’t proving any accommodation.

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The changes in how and when employees work raise questions around compensation. For employers with workers who can’t perform their normal full hours, 50 per cent said they’re continuing with regular pay as usual. Others (16 per cent) said they’re continuing with regular pay for a period and then using paid leave, while nine per cent said they’re continuing for a period and then using unpaid leave.

A small percentage (13 per cent) said they’re using paid leave for a period, then switching to unpaid. Nine per cent are simply providing paid leave and just three per cent are only providing unpaid leave.

With no one able to say for certain how long social distancing will be required in Canada, just 12 per cent of employers said they’ve already developed a long-term plan for how they intend to deal with employees struggling with the demands of work and family. Nearly a quarter (22 per cent) said they’re currently developing a plan, while 35 per cent said they’re considering developing one and 31 per cent said they haven’t got a plan and don’t intend to develop one.

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