Aberdeenshire based brewery BrewDog has launched a Puppy Parental Leave programme for employees who adopt a dog. The company, which prides itself on being dog-friendly, has announced that employees will be given a week of paid ‘paw-ternity leave’ to give them time to settle in and bond with their new dog.
With Britain becoming a nation of animal lovers, is this something that could become more mainstream? We asked ELAS employment law consultant Emma O’Leary to weigh in:
“Recent reports in the media suggest an emerging trend for companies to offer special leave for employees getting a new dog. The view is that the employee might want to spend time with their new pet to get them settled in, much like a period of paternity or maternity leave. These days pets are considered more as part of the family than merely pets and some people go as far as to refer to their pets as ‘fur babies’.
“It’s great that companies are considering the needs of employees and if you work in a particularly pet friendly company then creating a policy for special leave such as this will certainly be welcomed by employees. It’s unlikely ever to become a statutory right, and nor should it in reality, but if it makes your company stand out from the crowd and maintain a happy workforce, then it’s not to be barked at!
“Don’t forget it’s important that employers don’t discriminate. While animals are not covered by the Equality Act employers might be opening up a can of worms by offering this benefit solely to dog owners – cat owners could get their claws out if they feel they are being left out…”