Employers Consider Green Leap Day

With an extra day in this leap year, Employers are being asked to consider allowing workers a day off on 29th February to tackle climate change and boost staff morale.

Being a leap year there are 366 days this year and the 29th February has been earmarked as "Green Leap Day" by the National Trust.

All of the National Trust’s 4,800 employees are being allowed to take the day off, with paid annual leave, to either work from home, or in their local community, as long as they make changes to their environmental footprint.

The Trades Union Congress has backed the initiative and called for Green Leap Day to become a national day of environmental improvement.

Encouraging staff to help out with school and community projects or tackle simple home tasks such as draught-proofing, insulating the loft or being in the garden to plant vegetables or establish a compost heap is the main aim of the Trust’s day great green day off. In addition they are hoping it will motivate employees and boost staff morale.

According to TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber:

“More employers should be thinking about how to give their staff a better work-life balance. It is time for the Government to take a leaf out of the National Trust’s book and create a new Community Day bank holiday.”

The National Trust’s director-general, Dame Fiona Reynolds, believes the initiative could have substantial environmental benefits.

“There are more than 29 million employees in the UK, if just one million changed just one light bulb and turned their thermostat down by one degree, it would save 351,000 tons of carbon. We want all organisations of all shapes and sizes to come on board in whatever form they are able, to encourage people to do something for the environment.”

Simon Briault of the Federation of Small Businesses agreed that Green Leap Day can be of benefit to staff and the environment but added a note of caution in defence of small business:

“We encourage small firms do to their bit for environment, but it should be at the discretion of the individual small-business owner whether to take part in Green Leap Day.”

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