Latest job perk: 'pawternity' benefits

Some businesses offering pet insurance, time off for vet appointments

(Dreamstime)
(Dreamstime)

Think having a baby is rough? Try bringing home a new puppy.

They need far more attention, particularly if you consider all the playing, the outdoor walks in the rain, the house training, the gnawing on furniture, the chewing of shoes and the non-stop barking.

But it’s 2018, the labor market is tight, good employees are in high demand and paid time off, particularly for new parents, is a hot benefit many companies are offering.

Now some of these businesses are taking this concept one step further and offering the ultimate solution to the ultimate first-world problem: paid time off specifically for new pet owners. It’s called “pawternity.”

“We offer maternity and paternity leave, and a pet is another member of the family,” the head of talent acquisition at a data-services company told the Wall Street Journal last month. “We don’t discriminate just because they aren’t human.”

This is not the only business that provides pet-related benefits. An article on website Quartz last week reported on its growing popularity, with some companies offering up to a week of paid time off for new pet owners.

More of these businesses — particularly in urban areas that attract a younger workforce — also are allowing pets to be brought to be work as well as other perks such as pet insurance, time off for veterinary appointments, pet adoption consulting and pet bereavement leave.

“We look at it just as if you had a sick kid,” one business owner in the Journal article said.

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Animal advocates say the better the transition for a new puppy — the Kennel Club says that its first 16 weeks “goes a long way” to ensure a puppy’s successful acclimation and socialization — the happier its owners. The thinking is that happy pet owners make happy and hopefully more productive employees.

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