All parents should be able to take time off of work when they give birth or adopt a child. But, paid parental leave is still pretty hard to come by in the United States. In fact, just 11 percent of American workers in the private sector and 16 percent of government employees have access to paid family leave. Ouch.
If you weren’t already envious of the generous paid leave policies in Europe (many countries give new parents a full year off), you will be now. Companies in the U.K. are now giving employees time off when they adopt a new puppy. Yep, a puppy.
Research from Petplan found that 5 percent of new pet owners have, in fact, been offered paid leave when they adopt a furry bundle of joy, so there is hope that maybe one day this trend will make it over the to U.S.
Mars Petcare was one of the first companies to offer this helpful benefit. The company offers employees up to 10 hours of leave to help with the transition of brining a new four-legged friend into their household. And, the company even lets employees bring their pets into the office. Kate Menzies, HR director for Mars Petcare, told More Than Doggy Essentials that she believes allowing animals in the office is good for business.
“[Pets] offer a sense of comfort, relieve stress, increase physical activity and even improve productivity,” Menzies said.
Greg Buchanan, owner of British tech support company BitSol Solutions, started offering his employees a full week of paid “paw-ternity” leave after his own experience adopting a dog.
“We got a puppy from a rescue home and we realized it needed to be looked after properly, so I took a week off to ensure it was welcomed into the home, and to set boundaries for the dogs,” Buchanan told USA Today. “You know, ‘You can’t chew the couch’ and ‘You can’t jump on the television,’ things like that. And it went from there, and my dog is now better for it.”
And, as if working at a brewery wasn’t already cool enough, Scottish beer maker BrewDog also jumped on the paid-leave-for-pets bandwagon. The company allows employees to take a week off to bond with their “fur babies.”
“It’s not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home. So, we wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family,” BrewDog co-found James Watt told Elite Daily. “We always want to raise the bar when it comes to offering our staff the best possible benefits; at BrewDog, we care about two things above all else: people and beer. We also just really, really like dogs.”
While most of the companies now offering paid puppy leave are based in the U.K., a growing number of companies here in the U.S. are starting to offer “paid pet bereavement days,” including businesses in California, Washington and Massachusetts. So maybe one day “paw-ternity” leave will make its way over to this side of the pond!