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With the evolving climate changes our planet is experiencing, disruptions to our daily lives are becoming more and more frequent. Large parts of our country experience dangerous and disruptive weather patterns such as hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes.  For those facing these inevitable weather conditions, it’s not unlikely that you’ve experienced power outages, closed roads, displacement, damaged property and more. For many, this can make returning to work difficult or impossible. 

As a business owner, there may be something you can do to help relieve the stress your employees face in the wake of these damaging events. Read on to learn what climate leave is and if your business should consider offering it. 

What Is Climate Leave? 

Companies in North America are beginning to offer climate leave to their employees. With climate leave, workers receive paid time off in the event that there is a disruption in their ability to work due to extreme weather. While some companies may consider it to be an unspoken rule or something to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, others have implemented written guidelines clearly defining the terms of the leave.

Should Your Company Offer Climate Leave?

Companies may choose to offer climate leave on a case-by-case basis. However, having the policy in writing can bring protection and peace of mind to your workers and their families – and it is a benefit that may help your business attract the best workers. The location of your company will, of course, dictate the likelihood that your ability to work will be impacted by a natural disaster. But from wildfires in California to hurricanes along the East Coast, almost every part of the country experiences its own threat of natural disaster. 

For businesses located in parts of the country that may not typically see extreme climate events, it may still be wise to implement some sort of climate leave initiative just in case. For example, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy affected a surprising number of northern states, leaving a path of destruction in historically safe areas such as New Jersey, New York and Canada. An event like this provides a prime example of the importance of putting a climate leave plan together, even if the scenario of a natural disaster occurring is unlikely.

Example of a Climate Leave Policy: Glitch

If you are looking to offer climate leave, then you may want to know what other companies have done. On their careers page, tech company Glitch shares a link to an article published on Medium, in which they discuss in-depth their experience with offering climate leave to employees.

 Here are some highlights of the climate leave policy Glitch has implemented: 

Employees can take up to five days of climate leave due to extreme weather each calendar year.

More than five days may be taken if the state has declared a state of extended emergency.

Because their payroll tracking software doesn’t include tracking for climate leave, time is tracked manually.

The policy is considered an evolving work in progress, meaning they are tracking its use and effectiveness and reevaluating/readjusting as needed.1

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to offer climate leave to your employees is yours to make, and it should be considered carefully. If you’re unsure of how this may impact your business’s bottom line, it may be best to discuss with any additional stakeholders, your HR department and trusted financial professionals. 

13 Jun 2021

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