Should Employees Be Offered ‘Pawternity’ Leave To Look After A New Pet?’

‘With millennials now representing the largest population in the workforce, as well as the largest population of pet-owners (35 percent), it’s easy to understand why more and more businesses are incorporating pawternity leave into their benefits packages.’

Dog

by Aaliyah Harry |

Is the concept of offering employees ‘pawternity leave’ justified? A retail boss started this debate after posing a scenario to his LinkedIn following, and users are divided.

Rodger Wade, who is the founder of Box park (a very popular chain of outdoor dining halls in London), asked for opinions on the matter. A member of his staff approached him asking for paternity leave after welcoming a new pet into the family. He posed the question on the professional platform, ‘One of my staff has asked for paternity leave because he has a new puppy. What do you think?’ Amongst the thousands of responses, the answers were surprisingly a very mixed bag.

The poll attached to his original post revealed that 61% of people were against the pet privilege. One user said, the suggestion was proof that the 'world has officially gone mad' and added, ‘people actually think it's ok to have time off for having a dog!’ Another said, ‘Can we work on proper parental leave for actual babies first?’ A third said, ‘Trying to fill gaps puts pressure on other colleagues and the business in general. If you’re getting a pet - it’s a lifestyle choice.’

Poll Rodger Wade
©LinkedIn

However, the other 31% of LinkedIn users believe that the CEO would be right to let his employee take the time off. One user commented, ‘Some people are not fortunate enough to be able to have children and having a dog is their fur baby and new addition to the family.’ This user linked the increase to millennials, ‘ With millennials now representing the largest population in the workforce, as well as the largest population of pet-owners (35 percent), it’s easy to understand why more and more businesses are incorporating pawternity leave into their benefits packages.’ Another added, ‘Yes because they're part of the family. I'd allow them two weeks in all honesty, there's a lot of work that goes into training a puppy to be house trained.’

Rodger Wade updated users on the status of his employee, explaining that he agreed the employee could work from home in what he described as a 'win-win' situation. He stated, ‘We are back in the office. He asked for leave but we agreed he could work from home. Bailey (dog) and employee are both happy.’

There is still a lot of debate over the topic, despite the original post dating back over a week. Legally, companies do not have to give you time off to adjust to a new pet -it is at their discretion. However, more recently the number of companies accepting it has increased. For example, Mars Petcare and BrewDog both offer its employees paid leave when they get a new pet. The Times also reported that Pet insurance company PetPlan reveals 5% of owners have been offered leave to help settle new animals.

Perhaps ‘pawtenity' leave will become a more accepted idea over time..

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