- Since the beginning of the year, an increasing number of companies have unveiled policies that allow employees to take paid time off work for political or civic activities, such as protesting.
Yes it’s true! The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday, in an article titled “Bay Area demonstrators may be paid to protest, by employers,” that the “common accusation lobbed at liberal protesters” that “they’re being paid to protest” is at least partially based in fact.
From San Francisco Chronicle :
Since the beginning of the year, an increasing number of companies have unveiled policies that allow employees to take paid time off work for political or civic activities, such as protesting, canvassing, voting, volunteering or even running for office.
Big corporations like Comcast and outdoor-apparel maker Patagonia have been offering social-justice benefits to their employees for years. But several executives said the election of President Trump, and the backlash that followed, turned them on to the idea of giving their employees time off to express themselves politically.
“Democracy is a participatory institution; it’s not just something that takes place every four years when you have a candidate in a race,” said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of San Francisco marketing firm Traction, which is allowing employees two paid “Days of Action” for civic engagement per year. The company’s policy includes a list of approved activities and requires employees to state their plans in advance.
Most companies with similar policies are relatively small and nimble, with largely liberal workforces. Traction has about 50 employees. Two other San Francisco companies that offer paid leave for political action, Fauna and Buoyant, have 14 and 10 employees, respectively.
But big corporations like Facebook, with thousands of employees of varied backgrounds and political views, may be entertaining a similar change: It told employees they could use paid leave time to attend pro-immigrant May Day demonstrations.
Several executives said the election underscored what they see as a need for greater civic engagement. About 60 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2016, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. California law mandates up to two hours of paid time off to vote for those who can’t otherwise get to the polls.
Companies offering paid leave for political action have incurred an intense backlash — particularly among those who believe that most protesters at hostile town hall meetings and protests that pack city streets are being paid to be there by wealthy liberal elites. (Fact check: They’re not.)
“People were wishing that I was dropped off in an (Islamic State) territory, calling me an idiotic libtard, candy-ass, saying they hope we’ll go out of business. Really nasty stuff,” Kleinberg said. “We’re in marketing, so we talk all the time about making an emotional connection with people. And once we announced (the policy change) it became clear that we struck a powder keg.”