HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Paid time off for employees to settle in a new cat? What?!

Employees can often end up taking annual leave for life admin – what if they didn’t have to?
Paid time off for employees to settle in a new cat? What?!
 

Paid time off for employees to settle in a new cat? What?!

 

It’s Sunday evening. Scrolling through Instagram before bed you can see that one of your direct reports has just acquired a new kitten. Cute! Your thumb rests on the image – Mr. Tiddles is barely bigger than the palm of their hand – and clicks like. Already you’re onto the next image: your mother is learning how to ‘do the Insta’, in her words, and has posted a picture of a baked blueberry cheesecake. Oh mother! You put your phone down before you get sucked into a proper Instagram binge. It is work tomorrow after all.

However, this isn’t the last you hear of Mr. Tiddles. First thing on Monday morning, before you’ve even had your first slug of coffee, said report messages you on the in-office messenger app. ‘Can they have two weeks off to help Mr. Tiddles settle in?’ Apparently, the little whatsit is a bit nervy and has already shown a tendency to rip the fabric off the arms of the sofa.

At your old company, this would’ve likely been a difficult conversation – you’d have had to tell the employee that if they really needed such time off it would have to come out of their usual annual leave allowance, that you didn’t have enough notice, that it’s a business-critical time etc – but you work at multinational brewers Molson Coors and it so happens that they have just launched a new scheme called ‘Life Leave’. Explaining to them that they must write a decent handover, you sign off two weeks leave for them to help Mr. Tiddles settle into the world – as well as to protect their furniture.

 

 

Okay, so the above scenario is almost completely hypothetical, but it does have beginnings in reality; Molson Coors has just launched a new policy aimed at giving employees an extra two weeks leave per annum, on top of the 26 days they already have. Why are they doing this you ask? Well, it forms part of their ‘Moments that Matter’ campaign aimed at giving employees a better work-life balance. Molson Coors employees will be able to take additional time off for anything from wedding planning, to sorting out an important project – and even to settle in the nervous kittens. Excellent news for employees.

However, when HR Grapevine spoke with Adam Firby, HR Director UK & Ireland at Molson Coors, we were interested in if this programme might cause problems. What if some line managers were perceived to be signing off life leave for dubious reasons or it started to hit the ability of some teams to complete their work? Firby is convinced this won’t be the case. “We’re putting a formal system in place to track ‘Life Leave’, like you would holiday requests. Ultimately, this is a scheme built on mutual trust – it will be between an employee and their line manager to agree the leave and I’m confident this process will work,” he added.

Furthermore, he explained that the scheme will actually benefit the business. “We hope that ‘Life Leave’ will strengthen our ethos, which focuses on being yourself at work without feeling pressure to wear a corporate coat or having to keep your personal life completely away from work.

“Ultimately, if you create a workplace where your existing and future employees can thrive, whilst knowing they have the flexibility to focus on their significant life moments, then they’re going to want to keep coming in every day.

“By using ‘Life Leave’ to sort out other things in their lives, once back at work our employees will have the headspace to focus on the task in hand, without worrying about missing their child’s school play or whether their new puppy is ok at home.

“Launching ‘Life Leave’ allows people to use their holiday as it’s meant to be – a break – whilst knowing they’ve got the breathing space to tap into extra leave for the planned and unplanned life moments.”

Molson Coors employs over 2,000 people around the UK and has been recognised for its steps to improve workplace wellbeing in the industry. Most recently the brewer received a silver accolade from mental health charity, MIND, in their annual Workplace Wellbeing Index.

Okay, so the above scenario is almost completely hypothetical, but it does have beginnings in reality; Molson Coors has just launched a new policy aimed at giving employees an extra two weeks leave per annum, on top of the 26 days they already have. Why are they doing this you ask? Well, it forms part of their ‘Moments that Matter’ campaign aimed at giving employees a better work-life balance. Molson Coors employees will be able to take the two weeks on top of the 26 days annual leaves plus bank holidays for anything from wedding planning, to sorting out an important project – and even to settle in the nervous kittens. Excellent news for employees.

However, when HR Grapevine spoke with Adam Firby, HR Director UK & Ireland, at Molson Coors we were interested in if this programme might cause problems. What if some line managers were perceived to be signing off life leave for dubious reasons or it started to hit the ability of some teams to complete their work? Firby is convinced this won’t be the case. “We’re putting a formal system in place to track ‘Life Leave’, like you would holiday requests. Ultimately, this is a scheme built on mutual trust – it will be between an employee and their line manager to agree the leave and I’m confident this process will work,” he added.

Furthermore, he explained that the scheme will actually benefit the business. “We hope that ‘Life Leave’ will strengthen our ethos, which focuses on being yourself at work without feeling pressure to wear a corporate coat or having to keep your personal life completely away from work.

“Ultimately, if you create a workplace where your existing and future employees can thrive, whilst knowing they have the flexibility to focus on their significant life moments, then they’re going to want to keep coming in every day.

“By using ‘Life Leave’ to sort out other things in their lives, once back at work our employees will have the headspace to focus on the task in hand, without worrying about missing their child’s school play or whether their new puppy is ok at home.

“Launching ‘Life Leave’ allows people to use their holiday as it’s meant to be – a break – whilst knowing they’ve got the breathing space to tap into extra leave for the planned and unplanned life moments.”

Molson Coors employs over 2,000 people around the UK and has been recognised for its steps to improve workplace wellbeing in the industry. Most recently the brewer received a silver accolade from mental health charity, MIND, in their annual Workplace Wellbeing Index.

 


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