The Global Climate Strike is due to take place tomorrow, 20 September. Will you be an employer activist and permit your employees time off from work to participate?

You may have seen our recent article on employee activism (if you haven’t, you can read it here) but have you heard about employer activism?

The global climate crisis appears to be the centre of recent examples of employer activism. International beauty brand Lush has announced that on 20 September, its stores across the US will be closed for the day to allow their thousands of employees to attend the Global Climate Strike and demand bold action. Of course, Lush is known for being one of the most environmentally conscious brands in the industry so the fact that they are shutting down their entire operations for the day may not come as such as surprise. However, this isn’t just happening across the pond.

Much closer to home, employees in York and Leeds are expected to participate in the Global Climate Strike on 20 September, with businesses such as the University of Leeds granting staff an additional 30 minutes paid leave to participate in the strike. It is anticipated that “September’s climate strikes will kick-start a huge wave of action and renewed ambition all over the world” according to a statement on the Global Climate Strike website.

Employers are not only supporting the impending climate issue by allowing their employees to strike. A Sheffield business has recently confirmed its decision to ban employees from using single use plastic in the workplace or risk being dismissed. The ban extends to the use of water bottles, plastic lined disposable coffee cups and sandwich packaging.

Clearly climate change is a topic on everyone’s minds at the moment and the workplace is not immune. If you are an employer, what stance will you take if an employee requests time off to participate in the upcoming Global Climate Strike? Are you an employer wanting to ban single use plastic in the workplace or an employee who has concerns over your employer’s climate impact? Whatever your position, we have a team available to guide you through the legal issues.

You are also invited to attend our upcoming HR Network talks in our Sheffield, Leeds and York offices where we will be discussing the implications of employee and employer activism in more detail. For more information and to book your free place, please check our events page.

To discuss any of the issues raised in this article or for specific employment law advice, please contact Angela Gorton or any of our experienced employment law team.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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