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Debate Sparked Over Whether Employees Should Get ‘Pawternity’ Leave

by : Hannah Smith on : 18 Oct 2021 17:23
Debate Sparked Over Whether Employees Should Get 'Pawternity' LeaveAlamy

An employer has kickstarted a discussion about whether employees should be allowed to take paid time off to look after their pets, and opinions on the issue are pretty divided.

The debate began after Boxpark CEO Roger Wade asked his LinkedIn followers to chime in on whether he should agree to give an employee ‘pawternity leave’ to look after their brand new puppy.

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What he probably wasn’t expecting was for the seemingly innocuous question to go viral, with a poll on the issue receiving more than 34,000 votes and the post itself gaining 2,000 comments.

Debate rages over pawternity leave (Alamy)Alamy

If you live in a country where even paid leave for new fathers isn’t a thing, even considering the possibility of taking time off to look after a new pet is probably going to strike you as pretty insane, and it’s fair to say a lot of people who saw Wade’s post felt the same way.

Of those who responded to the poll, 61% voted against giving an employee pawternity leave, with 39% in favour, per The Independent.

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The comments were equally divided, with one person writing ‘It’s not your employer’s issue or responsibility. If you feel that burning desire to get a dog, change your circumstances to allow it.’

Others questioned whether introducing paid leave for things like pets would lead to even more reasons to take time off, such as moving house or helping children study for exams.

A man with his dog (Alamy)Alamy

But some were more receptive to the idea, with one user arguing that it was important for employers to consider work-life balance. ‘Come on people, in today’s harsh, negative and work-heavy world surely we can put more value to people’s lives by considering these relatively small requests.’

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Ultimately, Wade and his employee settled on a ‘win win’ compromise, with the staff member agreeing to return to working from home while their new pup got settled in.

And while pawternity leave isn’t a legal obligation in UK employment law, Boxpark isn’t the only company giving thought to the issue, with beer manufacturer Brewdog having announced in 2017 that it would be allowing employees to take one week’s leave if they got a new puppy.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Animals, Now, Pets

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The Independent
  1. The Independent

    CEO SPARKS DEBATE OVER WHETHER PET PARENTS SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO ‘PAWTERNITY LEAVE’