"Pawternity" Leave Is Now a Thing

"Pawternity" Leave Is Now a Thing

First there was maternity leave, then paternity and family leave.

Now, get ready for the latest work perk companies are adding to their benefits package: paw-ternity leave, or paid time off after bringing home a new furry or feathered family member.

Consider it another sign that employers are recognizing the importance of work-life balance. Just as moms and dads need time off to bond with a new baby, the thinking goes, new pet parents can use a week or two to get tight with their animal buddy and help him or her adjust.

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The newest workplace to offer pet PTO is HarperCollins India, which announced this week that workers can take up to five paid workdays off after adopting a furbaby. "Pet children need as much attention [as human children], if not more,” the company’s chief executive officer told HuffPo India.

A handful of companies in the West have also launched pawternity policies in the past few years, including BrewDog, a beer maker based in the UK that is about to open a new facility in Ohio. (Sorry cat, bird and reptile lovers, BrewDog’s policy only extends to canines.)

With 68% of U.S. households including an animal and research suggesting that pets reduce human stress levels and have other wellness benefits, it makes sense that employers are dangling pet-related perks to attract and retain top talent.

According to a 2016 survey, 7% of companies let workers bring their pets to work — including LearnVest, where dogs can sleep the afternoon away in the office three days a week. Pet insurance is a fast-growing part of many company benefits packages. Up to 60% of workplaces are expected to offer it by 2018.

And though we hate to end on a down note in a story that we think will put lots of readers in a paw-some mood, it’s worth mentioning: Some workplaces are even offering pet bereavement leave, so workers can take a few days to grieve the loss of a four-legged family member.

RELATED: America's Pets by the Numbers: How Much We Spend on Our Animal Friends

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