A message from Barbara Mason, Group Head, Chief Human Resources Officer, Scotiabank
Banking is a critical service for Canadians at all times. Ensuring Canadians continue to have access to their finances is important to all Canadians, as emphasized recently by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and premiers, mayors and leaders across the country.
Scotiabank is very proud of our teams who continue to work diligently to ensure we provide dedicated service to our customers and to ensure the relief measures we have announced are available to Canadians in need.
While the Bank’s investments in our digital capabilities allow for the vast majority of banking services to be performed remotely, our branches and contact centres have continued to offer critical services to Canadians from coast to coast and Scotiabank is taking all precautionary measures to ensure that our workplaces remain as safe as possible for both our customers and employees.
Scotiabank rapidly deployed extensive proactive and preventive measures across the Bank to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and customers. These measures include:
- reconfiguring workspaces, including splitting sites and teams
- practicing social distancing measures for workplaces that remain open
- increasing sanitization and deep cleaning measures of our branches and locations
- regularly emphasizing preventive hygiene practices
- implementing policies around face coverings and masks, adjusting given local circumstances and public health guidance
- introducing remote work options, with ergonomic support and additional peripherals to be supplied (coming later in 2020)
- adding additional personal days to support employees in their childcare, caregiver, or general wellbeing needs
- continuing to support employees whose workplaces are closed with paid leave
- providing complimentary remote medical and mental health advice for Canadian employees, including casual and contract workers, through Healthcare Online by Akira, a mobile app that provides 24/7 access to medical and mental health professionals, through March 2021
- implementing a phone line for Canadian employees monitored by our HR and Occupational Health and Safety teams
- providing onsite medical staff for our operations and customer contact centres to support our employees in any medical questions and concerns they may have
- publishing a dedicated page for Canadian employees with up-to-date information on COVID-19 and resources available to them
- providing mental health support through our Employee and Family Assistance Program
- increasing leader communications and employee surveys in order to ensure that leaders are visible across new working arrangements and that employees are heard with evolving needs being met
In October 2020, in recognition of its COVID-19 support measures for employees, Scotiabank was named the winner of the Coronavirus and Benefits award at Benefits Canada's Workplace Benefits Awards. Scotiabank was also recognized for its efforts to support employee mental health with the Mental Health Award. Below are just a few of the supports we put in place this year to ensure our winning teams could continue to put our customers first:
- To recognize the commitment and service customer-facing Scotiabankers are delivering every day, the Bank paid an extra $50 per day to eligible employees who regularly came in to work to support our customers at branches, contact centres and large operations centres.
- $500 was added to Canadian employees’ Wellbeing Accounts, part of their benefits package that can be used to cover a broad range of expenses that support physical, mental and financial wellbeing. This account can now be used to cover additional expenses such as grocery delivery services and home office equipment, such as monitors, chairs, and printers. Of note, Canadian employees also have access to $3,000 of mental health benefits for themselves and eligible dependents.
- As employees may need additional time off to respond to an urgent personal situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic such as childcare, eldercare, medical appointments, and more, the Bank is put in place an Emergency COVID-19-Related Paid Leave. This allows employees to take up to a maximum of 5 paid days for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year
- Scotiabank already offers a number of flexible work arrangements that can help employees with children at home or other caregiving responsibilities. To support the gradual re-opening of schools and daycare centres across Canada, Scotiabank has reiterated the availability of these arrangements (to be left to employees’ and managers’ joint discussion and consent.)
- Scotiabank expanded its partnership with leading childcare provider Kids & Company, offering employees across Canada five company-paid back-up visits, per child per year. This is in addition to discounted childcare rates, a guaranteed spot at a Kids & Company close to them within 6 months of registration (or sooner), access to an at-home resource centre with online programming as well as assistance with nanny and eldercare placements.
These are unprecedented times for Canada and for Canadians. We are unequivocally committed to doing everything we can to ensure our customers’ needs are being met, while protecting the health, safety and welfare of our employees.