More firms are giving animal-mad staff paid time off work when they get a new pet.
Almost one in 20 new pet owners in the UK has been offered so-called “paw-ternity leave” by their employers, according to new research by pet insurance provider Petplan.
Some firms allow workers to take a few hours off to settle in a new household animal , while others offer as much as several weeks paid time off.
Just like standard parental leave for new mums and dads, employees are granted the time off in addition to their standard holiday allowance.
One of the first companies to introduce the policy was Mars Petcare, which has sites across the UK and manufactures many leading pet foods, including Whiskas and Pedigree Chum.
Mature Woman Walking Along Beach With DogPeople take leave to ensure their pets settle into their new home
It allows employees 10 hours paid leave when they buy a new pet.
The leave can be used to carry out training, attend vet appointments or simply spend more time with a new animal.
The company’s HR director, Kate Menzies, said: “We know how important it is to take an animal into your home, and 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.”
But when leave is over, employees don’t have to worry about leaving their furry friends home alone – because Mars lets them bring their animals into work.
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Mars even lets people bring their pets into work
Kate added: “The benefits of pets in the workplace are widely recognised. They can offer a sense of comfort, relieve stress, increase physical activity and even improve productivity.
“Our pet friendly offices help both our employees and the animals.
“Pets in the office really do break down barriers amongst employees and create a much more relaxed environment.
“It means we’re more flexible and it generally makes pet-ownership a lot easier. And for the dogs, it is a social benefit to be with people and other dogs all day.”
Greg Buchanan, who owns Manchester based IT company BitSol Systems, allows his employees three weeks’ paid leave when a new four legged friend arrives.
He got the idea after his partner Steph took some time off work to settle the couple’s own dogs.
Several firms have pet friendly policies
Greg said: “The first few weeks of a dog moving to a new home is a really important time, especially when get are puppies.
“I don’t have kids myself but I do have dogs and I understand how much they mean to people.
“I find being flexible with my staff when it comes to their animals makes them loyal and hardworking.
“Pets are like babies nowadays so why shouldn’t staff have some time off when they arrive?”
Petplan’s Isabella von Mesterhazy insisted the trend was a step in the right direction.
She said: “The rise in new pet owners taking paw-ternity leave indicates that people recognise the importance of settling in new pets with the right support and care.
“The early days of a kitten or puppy’s life are a vital part of the pet’s early development – especially for them to become a proper part of the family.”