Companies Offering "Pawternity" Leave When Employees Adopt a Pet

By: Lauren Mineau

Bringing home a new furry friend can be a lot of work, especially at first as they get acclimated to your home.

Some companies are offering a way to ease the transition with what’s being called “pawternity leave” or a few paid days off to care for a new pet.

Musti Group, a large pet supply chain in the Nordics, announced that the leave policy would be in effect for employees on June 1. Due to the nature of the company’s business, most employees have at least one pet of their own so the offering seemed natural.

“Pets always come first in everything we do, and that’s why Pawternity leave is a natural step in developing our culture. Adopting a pet is a significant decision and changes everyday life considerably. We want to support our employees during their first days with their new family member and ensure that they can enjoy those precious moments to the fullest,” said Juhana Lamberg, Country Manager of Finland for Musti Group, in a press release.

Allowing employees to focus on this time at home makes the company’s overall atmosphere better, according to the company. A new pet can mean sleepless nights, adjusting to a new schedule, and constant attention — all things that would take away from workplace performance without ample time to adjust.

“A baby animal requires constant attention and unconditional love. Paying attention to a pet’s needs and spending time with them supports their learning, builds trust and helps prevent behavioral disorders in the future,” Lamberg said in a statement.

Many offices allow employees to bring their dogs and cats into the office if their space and rental agreements allow. Combining this and paid pet leave may help someone who is hesitant to get a pet due to their lack of time at home make the decision. Coworkers may also enjoy seeing their colleague’s pets and it may encourage a more active workforce.

The policy is hopefully beneficial for both the animals and the humans, according to Musti Group’s Marketing Director Henri Mäkinen. He also noted that leaving a new puppy home alone for too long might be troublesome in the early stages, causing bigger problems for both parties later on.

“Puppy socialization and training can’t happen during evenings or weekends alone. A puppy might feel both insecure and lost in their new home, without the presence of their mother and siblings. If a pet is left alone for too long, they will find all sorts of things to do — not all of them necessarily pleasant to the owner,” Mäkinen said.

Musti Group is challenging other companies to consider offering this benefit. Some already do.

Mars Petcare

This company was one of the first to offer the benefit, giving employees 10 hours of paid leave and permission to bring their pet into the office after that.

Mparticle

This company offers two weeks off if an employee chooses to adopt a rescue dog. The time off is intended for training and acclimation.

BitSol Solutions

This company offers employees a full week off.

BrewDog

This aptly name company offers one week paid leave and allows dogs in the office.