Softworks Blog

UK Workers Given “Paw-ternity” Leave to Spend Time With Their Pets

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Thu, Apr 28, 2016


Imagine getting a few weeks off work to welcome the newest member of your family home? However, it’s not your baby, but your pet. Well, it is now a possibility in the UK.

“Paw-ternity leave” is the newest benefit joining maternity and paternity leave in the UK. Yes, you read that correctly, companies in the UK are allowing pet owners and animal-mad staff to take “paw-ternity leave”. Just like standard parental leave for new mums and dads, employees are granted the time off in addition to their standard holidays. This will give the owner time to help their new pet settle into their new home and have a smooth transition. Almost one in 20 new pet owners in the UK have been offered the so called “paw-ternity leave” by their employers, according to new research by pet insurance provider Petplan.  

According to Petplan, 25% of new pet owners in London believe settling a pet into a new home can take up to a month, compared to 1 in 10 Scots that would take just a week off work for a new pet. Regardless of whether the owner already has pets, they will take the same amount of time off work as first-time pet parents.

Mars Pretcare was one of the first companies to introduce the latest policy, which allows employees 10 hours of paid leave when a new pet joins the family. Mars already has a pet friendly environment, which allows employees to bring their dogs to work, so it is no surprise they were the first company to introduce “Paw-ternity leave”.

Employees will get up to a few hours to three weeks paid leave when they get a new pet. They can make use of the leave to carry out training, attend vet appointments or simply, spend some quality time with their new fluffy family member and help them settle in to their new home.

A HR director at a company that offers this new policy said, “We know how important it is to take an animal into your home, and we want to enable and ease responsible pet ownership for our employees.”

Do you think “paw-ternity leave” will become popular in other countries? I definetly wouldn't say no to paid time off to spend with my new pet!

Another new benefit which has taken off in the U.S., is pet bereavement. Some pet owners can take time off work to grieve properly after losing their beloved companions. At least three national companies have chosen to offer pet bereavement days to their employees. Trupanion, a pet insurance firm, offers one paid day of pet bereavement and Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, now allows employees up to three days off work.

Flexible working can allow employees to adapt to their ways of working to best suit their needs, while being committed to their careers. Nowadays, employees are increasingly concerned about work-life balance and organisations which offer flexibility often find increased levels of satisfaction among employees. If you are lucky enough to have flexi time, would you use it to spend extra time with your new four-legged friend?

Have a look at our white papers/guides and learn about the benefits of flexible working by downloading our free guide - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

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Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working