Employers are making new dog ownership a little less ruff by offering “pawternity” leave
June 25, 2019
In three days, my family grows by one. We’re adding a puppy.
My wife and kids have been clamoring for a new dog for a year. Loula (our current dog) is seven years old, and they don’t want to be in a position of not having a dog in our family. Plus, we don’t want to wait until Loula’s too old to tolerate the energy of a new puppy.
As for new a puppy, I had two conditions: 1) it had to come from the same breeder as Loula; and 2) it had to be ready to come home early enough in the summer so that Norah and Donovan could get the dog house broken and trained before returning to school in August. Thus, when our breeder posted about a new litter (born on the same date as Loula!) ready to come home in late June, the stars aligned.
Hence, welcome Dante to the Hyman family!
While watching The Bachelorette last night (don’t judge me), the local news ran a stinger for a story on pawternity leave. What’s pawternity leave? As the punny name suggests, it’s a leave of absence for a employee with a new dog.
A little more than a year ago, Alana Ferrante rescued her dog Bylah. …
When she was brainstorming ways to get more of those dogs adopted, she brought it to the owners of her company Relentless Recovery.
“The newest idea is called ‘pawternity’ leave,” said Ferrante.
“I decided to implement this policy where if an employee at Relentless Recovery adopts a dog from a shelter or a kennel, they would be granted a week of paid time off,” she said.
She says the week will help the owner get acclimated to their new friend and allow them time to train him or her or take the dog to the vet. …
“An amazing place to work,” said [Relentless Recovery employee Molly] Wolcott. “And with this new policy it just makes it even better.”
I’ve written about pawternity leave before—Pawternity leave is a great idea, but please don’t forget about us humans. Here’s what I had to say about it then.
Make no mistake, this is a generous benefit for employees.… However, before you consider adopting benefits for your four-legged friends, please make sure your two-legged employees are taken of.
As a nation we lag so far behind the rest of the world on paid family leave it’s embarrassing.… The United States remains the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee working mothers paid time off after childbirth, and we lag behind most of the rest of world on other paid family leave. Frankly, it’s embarrassing, and it’s high time we joined the rest of the civilized (and, apparently, less than civilized) world on what appears for everyone else to be a non-controversial issue.
Paw-ternity leave is a cute idea…. But, before we start thinking outside of the box on employee benefits, let’s jump inside the paid-family-leave box that the rest of the world has already figured out.
So, yes, offer pawternity leave, and pet insurance, and “bring your dog to work” days, and whatever other pet-friendly benefits you deem worthy as recruitment and retention tools. Just don’t forget about the human benefits your workers also need.
This post originally appeared on the Ohio Employer's Law Blog, and was written by Jon Hyman, Partner, Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis. Jon can be reached at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via telephone at 216-831-0042, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter.