"Paw"-ternity Leave: A sign of the Apocalypse or Smart Business?

April 3, 2017

Companies are increasingly giving employees paid time off when they welcome a pet to the family.

Giving your employees extended maternity and paternity leave?

That’s so two years ago. The newest perk: paid time off when one of your employees adds a pet to his or her life.

This isn’t theoretical or confined to a few Silicon Valley startups. Overall, a recent study by PetPlan found that nearly 5 percent of new pet owners have been offered paid time off from their employers to take care of their new-found responsibilities, aka “pawternity” leave.

Want some examples? Here are three:

  • Mars Petcare was one of the first organizations to offer this perk, giving its employees 10 hours of paid leave when they get a new pet.
  • BitSol Solutions took it a step further, offering its employees a full week off when they get a new pet.
  • It works on the other end of life too. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Trupanion and Shoppers Drug Mart all offer their employees paid bereavement leave if a family pet dies.

Why companies are doing this

I’m sure this article has John D. Rockefeller spinning in his grave and most of the populous reading it wondering what happened to the world they once knew. And we aren’t helping matters by using this article to shamelessly insert a few eye-catching pet GIFs:

Sorry, we needed to get that out of our system.

But, there really is a point to all of this. And that’s this – the quit rate in America is the highest it’s been since 2001, meaning employees are increasingly likely to say adios to their company.

So organizations are adapting and giving their people things like pawternity leave, to keep them around. And also, so their employees don't come home from a hard days' work, only to find their new, untrained pets in tough situations like this:

Now, there’s a good chance pawternity leave isn’t right for your business. But, if you don’t invest in anything to retain your employees, you are going to lose a lot of them of them, fast.

So looking for suggestions on some retention strategies that work, aside from pawternity leave? Here’s a list. But you should definitely do something.

Download our interactive workbook today to find out how much disengaged employees and turnover is costing your company.