The internet is divided yet again, and this time it is because of our furry companions.
Roger Wade, the CEO and founder of Boxpark and a former member of eBay’s advisory board, posted on LinkedIn to ask the professional community what they thought of paid leave for employees to bond with new pets after a colleague asked for time off at the last minute.
The suggestion, dubbed “pawternity leave”, split opinion with more than 2,000 responses.
In general, the LinkedIn community was against the idea, with 61% of responders rejecting the idea of paid leave for a new puppy.
Copywriter Rowan Martin simply responded to the question “Can we work on proper parental leave for actual babies first?”
Nonetheless, the likes of Claire Johnson, head of HR at Call-In Homecare Ltd, noted: “I don’t normally put comments on these types of things but I feel really disappointed to be reading all of the comments from Senior Managers, HR Managers, Directors etc that are blatantly saying no!
“Now the term pawternity and the details of the request might not be quite right but in a world where we should be considering what makes our team the best versions of themselves, where we should be considering what is valuable to them surely we have to consider how, as employers we can positively impact our teams lives and saying No to something like this is not it.”
Johnson was supported by Sarah Stoughton, senior account manager at Switchshop, who wrote: “Some people are not fortunate enough to be able to have children and having a dog is their fur baby and new addition to the family. Puppies also need the love and support in their early days just like a baby.
“Lockdown and COVID-19 have certainly brought to light that mental health issues have hugely increased and having the extra companionship could actually save someone from loneliness and sinking further into depression.
“If taking a few weeks for Pupternity/Pawternity is something that is going to help that person mentally to then be more productive moving forward then surely this can only be a good thing?”
Companies that already have “pawternity”
Scottish brewery, Brewdog, offers a week of paid leave to employees who have a new pet, as does tech company BitSol Solutions.
Elsewhere, data platform provider Mparticle offers two weeks of paid leave if an employee adopts a rescue dog.
While it may be a growing trend to offer employees time off to become accustomed to their new friend, it is clear that there isn’t a standardized measure.
Even for Wade, the solution chosen was for the employee to work from home for a week, rather than have actual time off.
It seems that it will be a while before pawternity is commonplace and its scope is fully realized. But maybe in the ‘Great Resignation‘ this is a perk for employers to discuss the feasibility of with their employees.