Pawternity leave: a sign of progress
Any adult who’s had a pet will know the feeling. You’ve just got home with Moggie/Fido/Scargill, and all you want to do is hang out together for a few days, do some bonding, introduce your new animal to the idea of not pissing on everything in sight. Instead, the next day you have to trudge into work to hang out with other human beings. Ugh.
Enter “pawternity leave”. Essentially, employees are allowed a little paid leave so that they can spend time with their new pet and settle them in. It’s on the up, and it’s a good thing.
Pet leave, as I’ll call it, appears to have been pioneered by the Brewdog brewery, and Mars, which owns Whiskas and Pedigree. The Kennel Club says the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life goes a long way to producing a well-balanced, sociable dog, and that requesting time off would be “sensible” for the owner and “extremely beneficial” to the puppy, who can be intensively trained, acclimatised and socialised.
It’s no surprise that companies in dog-nuts Manhattan are leading the way with pet leave. Some even offer compassionate leave when an employee’s pet dies, which is extraordinary considering maternity leave isn’t even required by law in the US.
Compassionate leave for pets might sound like gooey nonsense, but it merely acknowledges the truth of how strongly many people feel towards their animals. Add to this the increasing popularity of flexible working hours and working from home, and maybe we’re working towards a less rigid working structure that benefits everyone – including, when it comes to pet leave, our furry friends at home.