For a subset of Silicon Valley employees, using the “I have to work” excuse when deciding whether or not to join a protest or march is no more.
Several firms in the tech industry hub have begun offering employees paid time off to protest. According to the Washington Post, Fauna, a start-up based in San Francisco, allowed nearly a dozen of its employees to take unlimited paid leave in order to protest, vote, write letters, attend rallies, and pretty much partake in whatever activities may fall under the civic-duty umbrella.
According to the company’s recruiting director, Amna Pervez, after observing the current political climate and the continued needs of Fauna employees, the company wanted to offer employees more than unlimited paid vacation time. They wanted them to be active outside of work.
“Since there’s been such a divide in our country, we felt we should be very explicit about our policy,” Pervez said. “We want our employees to know that we absolutely support the betterment of our country. People can take whatever they feel like they need to make a meaningful difference.”
Turbine Labs, Buoyant, Jelly Industries, and even Facebook have all implemented new policies focused on paid time off for the same reasons. Who ever said our civic responsibilities end with jury duty and voting?
“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up about issues that are important to them,” a company spokesman wrote in an email.
The message was in response to the company’s decision to allow its employees to take time off for a pro-immigration rally in early May.
“We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions,” the email continued.
While some may view the new perk as leftist, there’s more than just an employee incentive at play here — and it revolves around worker visas. Many large companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon will be gravely hurt by the updated H-1B visa policies, which will have a tremendous impact on workers from other countries.