In the United Kingdom, Mars Petcare is one of the first companies to ever offer paid leave to employees with new pets.
Mars’ HR Director Kate Menzies explains, “[W]e want to enable and ease responsible pet ownership for our employees. Dogs and cats are at the heart of our business and our policy is designed to embrace a culture that is passionate about pets.”
Allowing pets in the workplace has also been proven to have its benefits. Pets relieve stress, improve productivity, and Menzies adds, “break down barriers amongst employees and create a much more relaxed environment.”
In Manchester, England, the IT company BitSol Solutions offers three weeks’ leave for their employees.
The company’s owner, Greg Buchanan, says, “I don’t have kids myself but I do have dogs and I understand how much they mean to people. I find being flexible with my staff when it comes to their animals makes them loyal and hardworking. Pets are like babies nowadays so why shouldn’t staff have some time off when they arrive?”
The pet insurance company Petplan notes that one in twenty U.K. employees receive paw-ternity workplace benefits. The time off ranges from a few hours to weeks of paid leave, depending on the company and pet’s needs.
Isabella von Mesterhazy of Petplan says, “The rise in new pet owners taking paw-ternity leave indicates that people recognize the importance of settling in new pets with the right support and care. The early days of a kitten or puppy’s life are a vital part of the pet’s early development—especially for them to become a proper part of the family.”
BitSol Solutions’ Buchanan agrees: “We are quite sympathetic to pets in the U.K., we’re a pet-loving country.”
Even Buchanan took time off when he adopted a rescue pup.
What do you think—should U.S. companies consider offering paw-ternity leave? Would it include all varieties of pets, beyond dogs and cats?
Buchanan says there have been no requests for goldfish time off—yet. Personally, we can’t wait to see what happens next!