Employee wellness

Taking a whole health approach to employee well-being

For years, Sun Life has been investing in employee wellness. We believe it’s an investment that pays off. Employee wellness underpins our ability to deliver excellent service to Clients and to attract and retain top talent. It also supports our high-performance culture and strengthens the resiliency of our company.

Our approach

Our Purpose is to help Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. We want the same for our employees. Through our Global Wellness Strategy, we aim to drive a culture of health and well-being for employees worldwide. The global strategy is centered on three pillars – mental, physical and financial wellness. All these elements of wellness are connected and contribute to an employee’s overall health. For example, improving mental health can improve physical health.

The design of our wellness programs varies by region, recognizing local needs, Sun Life products and priorities. Employee input at each location helps us determine specific health topics of interest in each area. Where possible, we offer flexibility to allow employees to choose programs that meet their unique circumstances. We continue to assess how we can make our total rewards and well-being programs more inclusive. This includes ensuring benefits and programs reflect the diversity of our employees.

Sun Life promotes and supports mental health at work and beyond. We focus on prevention, managing illnesses and fostering positive outcomes, including reduced absenteeism rates.

Our global mental wellness offerings include:  

  • Benefit plans to support the health of employees and their families, including mental health coverage 
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP), with free, 24/7 access to third-party confidential advice and help for employees and their families 
  • Paid and unpaid time off to promote mental health and provide work/life balance
  • Educational sessions relating to stress, emotional health, gratitude, nutrition/healthy cooking, preventing burnout and other well-being topics 
  • Enabling people leaders to have discussions around revisiting work priorities to ensure a manageable workload and to proactively address the risk of burnout

Regional mental wellness offerings include:

  • Flexible work options to allow employees to choose where, when and how they work, including hybrid working arrangements, part-time and temporary work abroad in some regions
  • Partially paid sabbatical programs employees can use to recharge, connect with family or pursue personal development 
  • Care Days to make it easier for employees to focus on personal priorities, including proactive self-care
  • Access to virtual health care and other on-demand services, including online cognitive behavioural therapy and virtual live therapy 
  • Mental health training for people leaders

We promote key aspects of physical wellness, including by providing a safe work environment and by encouraging employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle (for example, through physical activity, good nutrition and proper rest). In addition, we encourage healthy lifestyles through internal fitness campaigns, health incentives and educational resources as well as facilitating access to dietitians and health coaches in some regions. In some of our locations in Asia and North America, we offer private spaces for breast feeding. Other examples include regular wellness/well-being webinars, meditation sessions, fitness classes and wellness challenges.  

When it comes to health and family benefits, one size does not fit all. Across our regions, we seek to continuously ensure our benefits support our employees and/or families, irrespective of identity or definition.

In terms of physical workplace safety, we continue to drive a range of safety activities to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of injury. These practices include:

  • Safety training
  • Emergency preparedness plans 
  • Ergonomic workstations (chairs, headsets and height adjustable desks) in North American offices that allow employees to use a workspace in a more comfortable, supportive manner 
  • Preventative measures for noise exposure
  • Communication and ongoing engagement 
  • ISO 45001:2018 certification (Sun Life Global Solutions India), an internationally-recognized framework for managing occupational health and safety risks

Sun Life has more than 700 safety ambassadors who are advocates for safety and prevention. They support employees during any emergency or medical incident. In addition, they serve as the go-to people for safety resources and awareness-building within their region.

Read our Canadian Health & Safety Commitment.


Sun Life also supports and encourages the financial well-being of our workforce. We recognize that financially healthy employees are happier, healthier and more productive. 

Here are some ways we help employees achieve better financial health:  

  • Comprehensive retirement and savings plans to help employees build financial security for the future 
  • Inclusive paid family and medical leave programs (maternity, paternity, parental/adoption/surrogacy, compassionate and sick) at or exceeding minimum regulatory requirements
  • Pay programs which aim to reflect a salary that supports the daily lives of our employees, while being competitive with our peers in the market
  • Financial literacy resources designed to meet diverse information needs, including access to live and pre-recorded education sessions
  • Financial counselling services through our EAP
  • Employee stock plans that provide employees with the opportunity to share in Sun Life’s success and buy shares at a discount (U.S. only) or receive a proportion of matching shares (Canada only)
  • A Benevolent Fund to help employees facing unforeseen financial difficulties (available in some regions)
  • Access to tax-effective health savings/spending accounts for employees to use to pay eligible health care, dental and vision expenses. Sun Life contributes to these accounts for U.S. employees while Canadian employees are provided a choice to direct Sun Life contributions to the account

We have established key performance indicators to evaluate employee wellness and the effectiveness of Sun Life’s wellness efforts. These indicators include:  

  • Participation in our wellness programs 
  • Culture and engagement scores 
  • Casual absence and disability outcomes 
  • Benefits usage

We also review wellness trends and benchmark ourselves against industry metrics. This information helps to ensure our wellness plans are competitive and address the needs of current and prospective employees.   

We share success stories and best practices across Sun Life to drive continuous improvement in our wellness strategies. 

Jacques Goulet
President, Sun Life Canada

“We need to do everything we can to empower our employees in managing their well-being and creating healthier work environments. Creating a workplace where employee health and wellness come first is the cornerstone of Sun Life’s culture. To accelerate meaningful and sustainable action, we have deepened our commitment to mental health by equipping our employees and leaders with tools and training, encouraging positive and open conversations, while also supporting our Clients, partners and communities. All leaders need to set the tone and make mental health a priority. Together we will build a more resilient and sustainable future.” – Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada 


  • Improve health and wellness outcomes for employees. 

2023 highlights

  • 92% of employees say that their immediate manager/supervisor supports their well-being1
  • Enhanced inclusive benefits and resources for employees and their families in North America and Asia to ensure they feel supported regardless of how they choose to identify
  • Grew our culture of support for employee mental health through additional resources, programs and benefits  

Learn more about our progress and performance in our 2023 Sustainability Report and ESG Performance Tables.


Recognized as one of the Best WorkplacesTM for Mental Wellness (Canada 2023) by Great Place to Work®. 80% of employee respondents said that our workplace is psychologically and emotionally healthy and supportive. 

Sun Life Indonesia received the Bronze Award for Excellence in Corporate Wellness at the HR Excellence Awards 2023 Indonesia. The award recognizes companies that demonstrate a commitment to employee health and well-being in the workplace, prioritizing mental, physical and emotional health.

1 Based on the Q3 global employee engagement survey. 73% of employees surveyed participated. Refer to Sustainability Data Scope - Note 4.

Refer to Sustainability Data Scope.