Global warming is affecting more than just the climate. The next frontier? Employee benefits. As weather patterns continue to become more intense, many employers are building in plans to deal with workplace disruptions due to extreme weather patterns.
According to the Insurance Journal, a New York based software company called Fog Creek is now one of the first to offer its employees climate leave. Every Fog Creek employee now has five days of climate leave that they can use should they be affected by any extreme weather events. If there’s a declared state of emergency, employee are given time.
Anil Dash, Fog Creek’s Chief Executive Officer spoke about the change saying “There’s no reason not to make your employees feel secure about this. Putting the policy in writing, he said, takes it from a “good intention” to a “promise.”.
Dash hopes that Fog Creek will pave the way for other companies to follow in their footsteps. Phillip Russell, a Tampa-based employment lawyer spoke with the Insurance Journal about this trend, pointing out that employment laws “weren’t written to anticipate a natural disaster”. This is true even in Florida, a state that has dealt with hurricanes for decades.
In fact, there were several reports from Florida that many employers pressured their employees to show up for work during Hurricane Irma, despite evacuation orders from the governor. In a survey of 134 people, more than half of respondents said their employers threatened to fire or discipline them for not showing up to work during Hurricane Irma, according to a study by workers’ rights organization Central Florida Jobs with Justice.
The unfortunate reality, is that these intense weather systems show no signs of abating. In fact, unless a solution to climate change is found, the frequency and intensity of the weather is only expected to get worse. As time goes on, it’s likely that we’ll see an increasing amount of workplaces following in the steps of companies like Fog Creek.