First West CU Encourages ‘Family Day’ as Official Paid Day Off for Employees
The nearly 1,300 employees of First West Credit Union in British Columbia were among those who took advantage of Family Day, the province’s inaugural holiday.
Observed on Feb. 11, the holiday was established in May 2012 in British Columbia to allow employees to spend time off with their families. The paid day off is currently practiced in five provinces in Canada.
In a survey of employees conducted days before Family Day by First West CU in Langley, B.C., which has $6.6 billion in assets under administration, 71% said they planned to spend time with their families. Fifty-six percent of employees said they were heading out of town for a quick family getaway.
Ten percent of First West employees said they planned to catch up on their to-do list of errands at home, and another 10% said they were getting active by hitting the ski slopes or going for a run.
More than 570 employees responded to the credit union’s survey.
“There is nothing more valuable to families than time together,” said Launi Skinner, CEO of First West. “That's why we recognize the importance of Family Day and as our employee survey results indicate, 92% of our employees agree that having one extra day off is something they really appreciate.”
First West said it was the only company in British Columbia to offer Family Day to its employees in 2012, one year before the statutory holiday officially came into effect in the province. The holiday is celebrated on the second Monday in February here.
“Our decision to offer Family Day as a paid holiday in 2012 was our way of recognizing a team that regularly goes above and beyond to make a difference in the financial lives of our members and our communities,” Skinner said. “Plus it was one more way for us to say, our employees and their families matter.”
First West employees said they certainly welcomed the time off, the credit union said.
“I'm a father to three young children and I know that as a working parent, it can be a challenge to find quality time with your family,” said Jeff Knutson, branch manager at Envision Financial, a division of First West, who spent the day tubing down snow slopes at a local resort with his family.
Marion Henselwood, branch manager at Valley First, another division of First West, took in some skiing and eating out at a restaurant with her family.
"Not only do we get a much-needed break from the doldrums of winter, but we get to be with our loved ones,” Henselwood said.