Manulife Financial Corp. is giving its employees the second Friday of every month off through to the end of the year to support the well-being of its global team.

Starting in September, the organization will launch Fuel-up Fridays, which will see its employees come together for a morning of collective learning, followed by an afternoon off to recharge, noted a press release.

“With each of us balancing many personal and professional responsibilities, sometimes it can be hard to prioritize our own health, wellness and learning,” said Pam Kimmet, chief human resources officer of Manulife, in an email to Benefits Canada. 

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“Fuel-up Fridays is an initiative that provides each [employee] with a collective sense of permission to focus on learning and rest as a result of pre-scheduled time set aside in each of our calendars. As an organization, learning and the opportunity to prioritize “me time” are two of our top priorities as we continue to build a leading global culture distinguished by our firmly held values.”

The organization is also once again giving its more than 37,000 employees five additional personal days to use in 2022 to thank them for all of their hard work throughout the year. This will be the second year in a row the company has provided the extra days off. Kimmet said many employees have already used their 2021 bonus days or have plans to do so before the end of the year.

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But with no clear end in sight to the global coronavirus pandemic, Manulife’s leaders decided to renew the program, knowing how important time off is to everyone’s well-being during this tumultuous time, she said.   

In addition to Fuel-up Fridays, Manulife has recently launched a number of virtual wellness initiatives to support its global workforce. In May, the company celebrated mental-health awareness month with a full schedule of health-filled events, launched its Elevate wellness program and, in June, it held its second “thank-you day off.”

Read: Manulife giving 35,000 staff day off as thank you