The Key Components to Setting Up Payroll: Part 5.10 – Flex Days

6 mins read

This article is written to provide you with a summary of what paid flex days are and how your company can administer them.

Flex Days are becoming more common in the workplace than ever before. Similar to personal days and sick days, as discussed in previous parts of this series, Canadian employers are not required by law to pay or offer their employees flex days.

What are Flex Days?

Flex days, as the term suggests, can be used for a vast variety of reasons whether it be for health, personal, or vacation. It is fairly common for businesses who already offer paid sick and/or personal days to combine the two policies, allowing more flexibility to an employee’s time away from the office rather than having a set number of sick or personal days in a year.

Businesses will offer paid flex days in lieu of paid sick days and/or personal days, which is a strategic way to attract talent and remain competitive in the marketplace as this offers more flexibility when it comes to paid time away from the office.

Instead of implementing separate payroll policies for sick days and personal days, businesses will implement one payroll policy in lieu. Even though flex days are administered and can be used for either health-related or personal-related matters, the term “flexible” is more appealing.

Note: Businesses are bound by legislation to provide vacation days to the employees, even though flex days have been implemented.

Since employment standards do not require businesses to provide flex days to employees, these are considered an added benefit to an employee’s Total Rewards (TR) package.

If you are interested in adding this benefit to your employee’s TR package instead of offering paid sick and/or personal days, it is up to your discretion how many days are provided and how the guideline will be administered in your business.

Just like any other guideline, when developing a paid Flex Day Guideline, ensure there is equity amongst all levels of the organization. This can be easily accomplished by ensuring:

    • All eligible employees receive the same number of paid flex days annually
    • The guideline’s regulations apply to all eligible employees
    • There are no exceptions to disciplinary actions with violations to the guidelines
    • The guideline’s regulations do not segregate certain groups

It is worth mentioning that most businesses determine the amount of flex days offered by taking into consideration how many paid sick and/or personal days they currently offer or would be thinking of offering and combining the two policies.

For example: Company XYZ offers its employees 5 paid sick days and 5 paid personal days. However, they want to bring flexibility to how an employee spends their time away from the office. So, they suspend their two Paid Time Off (PTO) policies and combine them into one, allowing employees to take up to 10 Flex Days annually.

Pro Tip: When putting your plan together, please know that these days are typically not eligible to be carried forward and are handled in the same manner as a paid sick day or personal day.

Since employers are allowed to deviate from the minimum set forth by Employment Standards, it is crucial that any adjustments do not result in a reduction of any of the employees’ rights.

Now that you understand what Flex Days are and that there is no specific legislation about them, we have included a downloadable Flex Days Guideline for use within your company. The main purpose of having a guideline is to provide clarification to employees as to how it is handled and administered, including company expectations.

Please stay tuned for part 6 of this series when we discuss Job Protected Leaves of Absences (LOA).

Download the Key Components to Setting Up Payroll: Part 5.10 – Flex Days Guideline & Resource (zip).

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Visit our Resource Library for all available downloads.

If you require assistance with any of the guides, forms or templates, please contact a BIG representative.

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