Should there be workplace leave to care for pets?


With “Paw-ternity” growing in popularity around the world, HRM profiles this and other unconventional reasons for compassionate leave.

What happens when your best furry friend falls sick and you are their only carer? An Italian woman was recently granted two days of leave to look after her sick dog – although it didn’t come easily.

The woman, who lives by herself but for her ageing English settler, needed to transport the animal to and from the veterinary clinic for surgery, and then care for her dog post-procedure. Her employer initially approved the request, but the time was marked as holiday, rather than compassionate leave. The woman successfully contested the type of leave with the help of an animal advocacy group, arguing that people who don’t take proper care of their pets run the risk of facing animal cruelty charges.

The notion of pet leave to care for sick or dying pets has also extended to “paw-ternity leave” – taking a few days to settle an animal into their new home. Some employers in the UK, such as Scottish beer company Brewdog and tech company BitSol Solutions have adopted the idea. The time off to care for new pets can range from a few hours to a few days.

Greg Buchanan, CEO of BitSol, says the leave is managed on a case-by-case basis. One employee was awarded leave to adjust to a new dog after a family bereavement. However taking care of a goldfish, he said, is not on the cards. Similarly, Brewdog extends the courtesy of paw-ternity leave to those doing a good deed and adopting a rescue dog.

The UK has a similar number of pets per household as Australia . According to the Australian Veterinary Association, 63 per cent of Australian households have pets and Canstar reports Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with more furry friends present in homes than children. The paw-ternity trend hasn’t caught on here yet, but given the number of pet lovers in our midst, could paw-ternity leave become a reality in Australia?

“Meternity” leave

Not everyone wants or can have children, so should those without kids be denied American author Meghann Foyle doesn’t think so. In the novel Meternity, Foyle questions why those who don’t opt for procreation shouldn’t have the same access to paid maternity leave, and puts forward the notion of a sabbatical for singles. Foyle may want to consider moving to France, where employees can take a sabbatical after three years of service for six to 11 months. The leave is, unfortunately, unpaid.

Marriage leave

While most save up their annual leave in preparation for the big day, some countries reward the (hopefully) once in a lifetime occasion with some time off. Employees in Greece are allowed five days, while Argentinians are granted 10, and in the Czech Republic, even the immediate family of the married couple get a break. Japan offer a similar concept in “congratulation” leave, for newlyweds and new parents.

Blood leave

The act of giving blood is so highly regarded in some countries that employees are given time off to donate In Russia, workers who give blood or need a blood test can take a day’s leave, and possibly also the subsequent day. Bulgarians are also entitled to two days, while Argentinians and Brazilians are given one.

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10 Comments On "Should there be workplace leave to care for pets?"

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Elise

‘Why those who don’t opt for procreation shouldn’t have the same access to paid maternity leave, and puts forward the notion of a sabbatical for singles’. I don’t think having time off work to tirelessly care for your high maintenance newborn baby is the same as a person getting extra leave for holidays? Undermining motherhood much?

Karin
In Canada, It is an offense for employers to fail to provide time off for voting if required under the Canada Elections Act. It is also an offense for an employer to reduce an employee’s pay where the employee has been provided time off to vote in accordance with the Act. Generally employers let employees start an hour later, have a long lunch to vote or let them go home early. Mean while in the Netherlands If an employee gets married, the employee can take time off, and have salary paid 100 percent. The maximum duration for time off is… Read more »
Kim

I agree with with Sheila, re ‘judge on performance not presence’. The ability to be ‘present’ 24/7 via technology is a no brainer!

Industrial Frameworks and Employers need to come to terms with the new world of work.

Annette

With the increasing amount of requests for ‘special’ leave within the workplace (outside of holidays and sick leave) and having to consider these on a case by case basis can often cause heartache for those where it is denied. A way to alleviate this and to support flexibility in the workplace and to remove the onus off the employer, is to allocate a set amount of leave to each staff member for them to utilize in which ever way they choose.

sheila baker

Run a flexible workplace. If you do, you won’t need all these ridiculous forms of leave.

Allow your employees to work from home. Judge them on performance not presence. If you can, if your operation allows it, you will be rewarded with loyalty, gratitude and over achievement. Isn’t that what employers want? Easier in a small business I agree, but if you can do it, it’s well worth it.

Jo Fraser

Absolutely agree Sheila! I’d love to see more companies adopt the Netflix mantra of “use good judgement” instead of having an onerous amount of workplace policies. If you trust your people and give them the flexibility to work the way they want to, in the hours that suits them, you’ll be rewarded as Sheila has pointed out.

Kathryn

Absolutely Sheila – seems obvious to me too.

Stephen Callaghan

Yep – I’m with Sheila!

Beth

I agree! Remote work allows for flexible hours. I think that some employers don’t know how to adjust their recruitment strategy in order to hire the right type of remote employees, however. There are certain characteristics that perform well in this function, and some that don’t. Here’s a guideline for anyone interested: http://bit.ly/2g1Gemm

I personally think that there are tons of benefits to remote work, but if the employee is in-office, I agree with not being so strict with leave policies. Maybe then people won’t want to leave so badly.

More on HRM

Should there be workplace leave to care for pets?


With “Paw-ternity” growing in popularity around the world, HRM profiles this and other unconventional reasons for compassionate leave.

What happens when your best furry friend falls sick and you are their only carer? An Italian woman was recently granted two days of leave to look after her sick dog – although it didn’t come easily.

The woman, who lives by herself but for her ageing English settler, needed to transport the animal to and from the veterinary clinic for surgery, and then care for her dog post-procedure. Her employer initially approved the request, but the time was marked as holiday, rather than compassionate leave. The woman successfully contested the type of leave with the help of an animal advocacy group, arguing that people who don’t take proper care of their pets run the risk of facing animal cruelty charges.

The notion of pet leave to care for sick or dying pets has also extended to “paw-ternity leave” – taking a few days to settle an animal into their new home. Some employers in the UK, such as Scottish beer company Brewdog and tech company BitSol Solutions have adopted the idea. The time off to care for new pets can range from a few hours to a few days.

Greg Buchanan, CEO of BitSol, says the leave is managed on a case-by-case basis. One employee was awarded leave to adjust to a new dog after a family bereavement. However taking care of a goldfish, he said, is not on the cards. Similarly, Brewdog extends the courtesy of paw-ternity leave to those doing a good deed and adopting a rescue dog.

The UK has a similar number of pets per household as Australia . According to the Australian Veterinary Association, 63 per cent of Australian households have pets and Canstar reports Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with more furry friends present in homes than children. The paw-ternity trend hasn’t caught on here yet, but given the number of pet lovers in our midst, could paw-ternity leave become a reality in Australia?

“Meternity” leave

Not everyone wants or can have children, so should those without kids be denied American author Meghann Foyle doesn’t think so. In the novel Meternity, Foyle questions why those who don’t opt for procreation shouldn’t have the same access to paid maternity leave, and puts forward the notion of a sabbatical for singles. Foyle may want to consider moving to France, where employees can take a sabbatical after three years of service for six to 11 months. The leave is, unfortunately, unpaid.

Marriage leave

While most save up their annual leave in preparation for the big day, some countries reward the (hopefully) once in a lifetime occasion with some time off. Employees in Greece are allowed five days, while Argentinians are granted 10, and in the Czech Republic, even the immediate family of the married couple get a break. Japan offer a similar concept in “congratulation” leave, for newlyweds and new parents.

Blood leave

The act of giving blood is so highly regarded in some countries that employees are given time off to donate In Russia, workers who give blood or need a blood test can take a day’s leave, and possibly also the subsequent day. Bulgarians are also entitled to two days, while Argentinians and Brazilians are given one.

Leave a reply

10 Comments On "Should there be workplace leave to care for pets?"

avatar
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Elise

‘Why those who don’t opt for procreation shouldn’t have the same access to paid maternity leave, and puts forward the notion of a sabbatical for singles’. I don’t think having time off work to tirelessly care for your high maintenance newborn baby is the same as a person getting extra leave for holidays? Undermining motherhood much?

Karin
In Canada, It is an offense for employers to fail to provide time off for voting if required under the Canada Elections Act. It is also an offense for an employer to reduce an employee’s pay where the employee has been provided time off to vote in accordance with the Act. Generally employers let employees start an hour later, have a long lunch to vote or let them go home early. Mean while in the Netherlands If an employee gets married, the employee can take time off, and have salary paid 100 percent. The maximum duration for time off is… Read more »
Kim

I agree with with Sheila, re ‘judge on performance not presence’. The ability to be ‘present’ 24/7 via technology is a no brainer!

Industrial Frameworks and Employers need to come to terms with the new world of work.

Annette

With the increasing amount of requests for ‘special’ leave within the workplace (outside of holidays and sick leave) and having to consider these on a case by case basis can often cause heartache for those where it is denied. A way to alleviate this and to support flexibility in the workplace and to remove the onus off the employer, is to allocate a set amount of leave to each staff member for them to utilize in which ever way they choose.

sheila baker

Run a flexible workplace. If you do, you won’t need all these ridiculous forms of leave.

Allow your employees to work from home. Judge them on performance not presence. If you can, if your operation allows it, you will be rewarded with loyalty, gratitude and over achievement. Isn’t that what employers want? Easier in a small business I agree, but if you can do it, it’s well worth it.

Jo Fraser

Absolutely agree Sheila! I’d love to see more companies adopt the Netflix mantra of “use good judgement” instead of having an onerous amount of workplace policies. If you trust your people and give them the flexibility to work the way they want to, in the hours that suits them, you’ll be rewarded as Sheila has pointed out.

Kathryn

Absolutely Sheila – seems obvious to me too.

Stephen Callaghan

Yep – I’m with Sheila!

Beth

I agree! Remote work allows for flexible hours. I think that some employers don’t know how to adjust their recruitment strategy in order to hire the right type of remote employees, however. There are certain characteristics that perform well in this function, and some that don’t. Here’s a guideline for anyone interested: http://bit.ly/2g1Gemm

I personally think that there are tons of benefits to remote work, but if the employee is in-office, I agree with not being so strict with leave policies. Maybe then people won’t want to leave so badly.

More on HRM