Scotiabank is providing its eligible Canadian employees with an additional two paid personal days to support their mental health.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the bank’s Canadian workforce will have a total of five personal days and the flexibility to take them as needed, in addition to existing sick and vacation days.

“Our people are our most important asset and their well-being is a top priority for Scotiabank,” said Barbara Mason, chief human resources officer, in a press release. “We strongly believe that by offering employees greater flexibility to take time off to achieve greater work-life balance, our employee population will be healthier and happier, and therefore enabled to perform at their very best.”

Read: 60% of Canadians with mental-health concerns not using workplace support tools

Dominic Cole-Morgan, the bank’s senior vice-president of total rewards, also noted research has demonstrated that more flexibility and paid personal time contribute to reducing absenteeism and improving employee productivity and engagement.

Scotiabank made the announcement a day ahead of World Mental Health Day, when it will host a wellness trade show for its Toronto employees and hold webinars on several mental-health topics.

The bank currently offers $3,000 a year in mental-health coverage to employees and their families, which can be put toward services such as family therapists, marriage counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists.

The two additional paid personal days will be available to regular  and contract status employees, as well as co-op students who’ve worked at Scotiabank for three consecutive months, although the three-month requirement is waived above a certain job level. Employees who are ineligible for paid personal time can still request personal time off.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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