Softworks Blog

“Pawternity” leave – Barking mad or will it take off?

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Tue, Apr 4, 2017

I don’t personally have a dog which is quite surprising considering the amount of pleading I have got over the years from my kids.  I do love dogs.  As a kid there were plenty of dogs coming and going in my house, as my sister brought home every waif and stray much to my mother’s dismay.  In all honesty I’d love a dog – please don’t tell the kids though!

My reluctance is that I’m just not sure I’ve got the time between working and ferrying around my kids to Soccer, Rugby, Gaelic Football and Hurling matches, not forgetting play dates, parties and playgrounds. Dogs are a lot of work, particularly when they are puppies so I was intrigued to hear that some companies are offering ‘pawternity’ leave.


So what exactly is ‘pawternity leave’? Apparently it’s just like maternity or paternity leave but for a new pet, instead of a new baby.   The unpaid time off is allowed in order to give pet owners time to take care of their new pet whether this is a kitten, puppy, rabbit, hamster or whatever you’re having yourself…

Looking a bit deeper into this new leave, it came as no surprise to find out that some of the companies offering this leave are pet-themed companies.  The Scottish brewery BrewDog offers a week of paid leave for employees with new puppies or rescued dogs.  BrewDog co-founder, James Watt has this to say:

 “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. 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.’

BrewDog, was started by two men and a dog back in 2007, and both co founders are commonly found accompanied by canines Simcoe and Dr Gonzo.

Mars Petcare the people behind big pet food brands including: Whiskas, Pedigree Chum and Kitekat now offer their employees ten hours of paid leave for a new pet. Once their pets have settled in, they are allowed to join their owners in the office.  Mars’ HR Director Kate Menzies commented on why they have introduced this leave.

“We 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.” She also had this to say;

“Having pets in the workplace comes with many great benefits including relieving stress and improving productivity, as well as breaking down barriers between employees which creates a more relaxed environment.”

But it’s not just pet themed companies. BitSol Solutions -an IT company- in Manchester has also got on board and offers their employees a week off paid leave. According to company owner Greg Buchanan
"Pets are like babies nowadays, so why shouldn't staff have some time off when they arrive?"

So what do you think - are they all barking mad or could this really take off? Share your thoughts in  the comment section below and if you are looking for a way of managing your employees leave - whether this is maternity, paternity or even pawternity Softworks can automate this process for you!. 

Topics: Time & Attendance, Maternity Leave, pawternity leave, paternity leave, absences

Parental Leave - Following the Trend

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Wed, Aug 12, 2015



 We often use the term "family comes first" to help prioritise our social lives. However, with parental leave receiving a lot of media attention of late, an increasing number of modern organisations are quickly adjusting to that mantra. Just last week, Netflix introduced a new measure to ensure new parents are accommodated, providing employees with "an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption"*. In June 2015, Richard Branson of Virgin also extended his policies "I’m very proud that Virgin Management has introduced a new initiative giving all employees in our London and Geneva offices a year’s full pay for shared parental leave." ** Managing parental leave is simple with the right solution. 


For whichever period of time your organisation chooses to allow for parental leave, adequate cover will be needed to ensure there is no gap in your business.With Softworks Schedule Optimiser you can easily create and configure complex schedules that match labour to forecasted demand and map employee tasks with skills and qualifications to cover the work previously done by the person on parental leave.

Flexible Working

Even with extended leave, returning to work after parental leave is difficult with many parents admitting to feeling a sense of guilt. The financial burden of childcare costs along with matching child care/school timetables with work schedules are a major concern for new parents. Flexible working arrangements are proven to reduce stress, fatigue and improve in focus employees. In order to attract and retain top talent, businesses need to be able to respond to employees demand for non-full-time working hours and/or flexible working time schedules that will assist them to balance work and domestic responsibilities.

Returning to Work 

With Softworks Alerter, actionable alerts will trigger a notification to the employee and manager to complete a return to work interview when the individual has returned from parental leave. 

Does your flexible working solution easily accommodate your organisation's parental or maternity leave policies or allow for flexible working?  Talk to one of our specialised consultants today to discuss how Softworks can implement the perfect solution for your business and your employees.


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*Direct quote. See the Netflix blog for more information on why they chose to implement unlimited leave for new parents. 

** See Richard Branson's blog here  on why they chose to extend shared parental leave

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Parental Leave, Maternity Leave, Netflix, Returning To Work