Solar Energy Industries Association

Update Work/Life Benefits

Challenge

We recognized that SEIA’s employee handbook, specifically parental leave and holiday practices, had not been updated in a significant amount of time. While SEIA’s policies were, at the time they were written, considered to be progressive, we realized that they did not reflect current best practices.

Actions

Another initiative I am implementing immediately so that our workplace is more welcoming to diverse cultures is enhanced flexibility to two of our existing paid leave benefits.  First, the Columbus Day holiday in October will be treated as a floating holiday.  (Veteran’s Day is already a floating holiday.) Employees may either take this day off, or they may work on Columbus Day and take the day off at some other point during the same calendar year.  Second, the two personal days allocated to each staff member may now be scheduled in advance (currently these days cannot be scheduled in advance) so that employees can plan for holidays or special events.  Personal days will still be granted on each employee’s anniversary date and cannot be carried over to the next anniversary year. 

SEIA will be doubling the previous maternity/paternity leave and grant eight weeks of paid leave to be used within the one month immediately preceding and the four months immediately following the expected birth date or adoption date of a child.  This maternity/paternity leave runs concurrent with and not in addition to any leave under the DCFMLA.

Outcomes

Employees are able to spend religious holidays with their families/friends, two women utilizing new maternity-leave policy this year (improved employee satisfaction). SEIA will be doubled the amount of paid parental leave available to new parents (through both birth and adoption), and new parents will have additional flexibility in how and when they will be allowed to use this leave. The new policy reads: “SEIA grants eight weeks of paid leave to be used within the one month immediately preceding and the four months immediately following the expected birth date or adoption date of a child.  This maternity/paternity leave runs concurrent with and not in addition to any leave under the DCFMLA.”

Contact

Abigail Hopper: [email protected]

Expanding diversity and inclusion within our organization and across the entire solar workforce is a top priority of mine as SEIA’s president and CEO.   Although we’ve seen an increase in women and minorities employed in the solar workforce, there is still a long way to go ensure fairness and equality in our industry and across the U.S.  Women and people of color continue to face significant difficulties in reaching the industry’s highest positions and wages.  SEIA works to encourage respect among our employees and members to create a more productive industry that provides equal opportunities for all. 

Diversity at SEIA is an active initiative that permeates all major aspects of our organization.   Our Diversity Best Practices Guide aims to assist solar companies with the implementation of diversity initiatives to cultivate a resilient and inclusive environment, while encouraging the same practices within our own organization.  I am optimistic about the future of diversity in my organization, the energy industry and the United States, and am proud to be a part of a workforce that is actively advancing the conversation around diversity and inclusion.

Abby Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association

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