IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

Paws and Relax: Taking Time Off to Pamper Your Pets

  Reading Time:

For many people, pets have become an important part of their lives - and this has been even more true since the pandemic. As a result, companies are starting to offer pet vacations as a perk to their employees.

Animal-loving employees are starting to ask about it, and it seems some companies are already taking advantage of this opportunity. A number of major brands, including Mars Petcare and Brewdog, have specifically introduced pet-friendly policies that allow employees to take time off work to be with their pets.

Whether it's about helping employees, improving reporting, or building a stronger employer brand, these types of PR-friendly policies are getting a lot of attention these days.

But what is Paternity vacation? Should your company offer it? And is pet vacation really justified? Here's IceHrm's take on this growing trend in the workplace.

What is Paternity Vacation?

Paternity leave, also known as pet leave, means an employee is given time off from work for reasons related to their pet. It's a pun based on "paternity leave," but for creatures with paws (or scales, hooves, tentacles... you get the idea.)

Reasons for a pet-related break can be:

  • Adopting a new pet. If you've recently adopted a new puppy and want to take the time to bond with him and get him used to his new home, a Paws vacation can be a great way to do that.
  • Dealing with a sick pet. This may mean taking the animal to the vet or simply spending time with it at home while you nurse it back to health.
  • Leave in the event of death. If your pet dies, there's a good chance you'll be too sad to work. This is essentially the same as compassionate leave.

The reasons for vacation out of pity

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider pet leave as an official workplace perk.

People take vacation for their pets anyway.

This is a dilemma that pet owners everywhere have to contend with. Your Daschund is a hit, your cat is the dog's boxers... and yet your workplace isn't progressive enough to give you paid time off to play with your four-legged friend.
So, in the absence of an official vacation for paws, insidious employees take a "sick day" to get a little vacation for their pet.

If they're going to stay home to feed some poor Tiddles their Whiskas, with or without your blessing, then why not do it officially?

Pets are good for your well-being.

Some companies are recognizing the benefits a furry friend can have on well-being - especially at a time when mental health issues are at a premium. Time spent with animals has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve mood and lower stress levels, so a pet policy can ultimately lead to happier, healthier and more productive employees.

It's more inclusive.

Many employees also believe that pet-related work policies are inclusive since some people do not have children and therefore cannot take parental leave. In fact, 82% of employees believe employers should offer time off for pet-related emergencies, such as: for veterinary appointments, illnesses or adoptions.

Millennials are now the demographic most likely to own a pet, and employers everywhere are trying to attract the best talent from this in-demand demographic. A pet-friendly policy could be just what wins the talent war and attracts the brightest and best minds to your company. And maybe a friendly Shiba Inu visitor that you can pet every now and then.

The argument against vacationing with pets

Realistically, most employers are simply unwilling to offer paid pet leave. After all, paid time off from work costs companies - and surely a line has to be drawn somewhere?

There is also the opposite problem of inclusion. How will those who don't have pets feel when a colleague can take a week off to be with their new dog?

And how should one decide what is appropriate? A dog, perhaps, but a snake? A goldfish? An ant farm?

Giving your employees a "fur leave" can open up a hornet's nest when it comes to keeping things fair for everyone.

A passing fad or a future focused on pets?

Whether pet vacations are a passing trend or a new direction for modern businesses remains to be seen. But if you run a business, you might want to consider being a top-notch boss and recognizing the therapeutic benefits and well-being of pets. Finally, the number of pet owners is increasing worldwide, with 62% of UK households now having a pet.

Also remember that work-related stress costs businesses billions of pounds a year in lost productivity. A smart approach could result in your employees being happier and more productive - while also giving you positive PR, better candidates and a healthier bottom line.

Tips for bosses: Recognize your animal-loving employees

Instead of letting your pet-loving employees secretly take sick leave to be with their furry family members, you can also be proactive and recognize the benefits of having pets.

Here are some ideas for starting a pet-friendly business:

  • Make your office friendly to well-behaved dogs - even if it's just for one "bring your dog to work day" a month. (You will need to establish a code of conduct to ensure staff are not disturbed by barking etc).
  • Partner with a local animal rescue center and offer voluntary leave so your employees can periodically leave the office to help the animal residents.
  • Consider linking a pet-friendly policy to your company's health and wellness policy. For example, if you walk a dog, you can use the Sweatcoin app to collect steps that can be redeemed for discounts on various products.
  • Offer your employees discounts on pet insurance, pet food, and other pet products as part of their benefits package.
  • Make the pet theme fun! Talk about your pets at work, include a picture of your cat in your employee newsletter, support a pet charity, or put an aquarium in your office!

What do you think about vacationing with pets? Could you imagine your company offering this in the future? Or should you quickly forget about it?

Paternity leave reflects changing attitudes towards pets at work. IceHrm's insights explore its implications for employers and employees alike.

What is Unlimited Holiday Allowance?

It sounds too good to be true, but actually there's some solid reasoning behind an unlimited paid holidays policy. It can increase staff productivity, morale, and motivation, and of course it's not bad from the perspective of employees, either. So why isn't everybody offering it?...

Life Leave: A New Workplace Trend to Consider

Explore the concept of lifetime leave: extra time off for life's necessities. Is it a game-changer for employee well-being? IceHrm weighs in....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.