If you’ve recently brought home a new pet, would you consider taking a day or two off from work to help him adjust? At some companies in the United Kingdom, that might actually be encouraged.
A small number of businesses have started offering “paw-ternity leave” to employees who have recently taken in a new dog or cat, allowing them to spend a few hours — or even a few weeks — tending to their new family member, USA Today reports.
“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,” business owner Greg Buchanan told the news outlet. “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.”
Buchanan allows workers at his own company to take up to one week of paid leave to welcome their new pets into their homes. One engineer who had recently inherited a relative’s dog took him up on the offer, spending four days helping the animal adjust.
Although a number of companies in the United States have started to offer bereavement days to employees who lose a pet, the idea of ‘paw-ternity’ doesn’t seem to have crossed the Atlantic yet — but that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting idea. Buchanan says that, so far, his workers have been reasonable with their requests.
“If somebody’s asking for time off for a goldfish, no, no — then it’s not quite what we set out for,” he said.