This new perk allows employees to take paid time off to care for pets

By Kelli Bender
Updated May 03, 2016 08:58 PM

Across the pond, pet parents are starting to get appreciation in the work place.

According to the USA Today, several companies in the U.K. are offering paid time off to employees with pets, calling it “paw-ternity leave.” The covered time away from work can be a few hours or several days depending on the issue and its severity. The perk was created so pet parents don’t have to worry about taking time off to care for sick pets or helping a new animal adapt.

Greg Buchanan an activist and early adopter of paw-ternity leave thinks the change makes sense, especially in the U.K. where 60 percent of workers have a pet.

“We got a puppy from a rescue home and we realized it needed to be looked after properly, so I took a week off to ensure it was welcomed into the home, and to set boundaries for the dogs. You know, ‘You can’t chew the couch’ and ‘You can’t jump on the television,’ things like that,” Buchanan told USA Today of the experience that made him offer paw-ternity leave at his own company, BitSol Solutions.

Currently Buchanan offers a week of paw-ternity leave to his employees, and had one worker recently take four of the days off to help a recently deceased relatives’ dog who was suffering from separation anxiety.

“Obviously we take it on a case-by-case decision,” he said. “If somebody’s asking for time off for a goldfish, no, no — then it’s not quite what we set out for.”

Adding, “If you do give time off for paw-ternity leave, you are limiting the number of people available to you, however, I believe the morale of staff definitely improves and they actually want to work harder for you.”