Fur-ternity leave for pet owners gains traction in the US

  • Animals
  • Friday, 28 Sep 2018

Bringing a new pet into the home can require an adjustment period, and now one company has joined the slow-growing pawternity movement, allowing employees to work from home for a week. Photo: TNS

Some people rolled their eyes when a Nordic pet food company earlier this year announced it was offering paid “pawternity” leave to new pet parent employees. Now a Minnesota firm has hopped on the slow-moving bandwagon with its own policy.

The Minneapolis marketing company, Nina Hale, calls its pet parent leave policy “fur-ternity,” and instead of three days of paid leave, the policy gives pet parents the ability to work from home for a week to help ensure the new dog or cat addition goes smoothly.

“This is kind of a no-brainer,” said Allison McMenimen, company vice president and policy architect. “The idea of offering benefits that just help keep employees at the office, that’s over.”

The idea of giving owners some time to get a pet adjusted to its new home and family is ascribed to the Musti Group, a large Scandinavian pet food and supply chain. It began offering the three-day parental leave on June 1. The company has 1,500 employees, 90% of whom have pets.

“Pets always come first in everything we do, and that’s why pawternity leave is a natural step in developing our culture,” Musti Group CEO David Ronnberg said at the time. “Adopting a pet is a significant decision and changes everyday life considerably. We want to support our employees during their first days with their new family member and ensure that they can enjoy those precious moments to the fullest.”

Ronnberg also said he hoped Musti Group’s policy would encourage other companies to follow suit.

The pawternity movement hasn’t gained much ground, and the Minnesota company might be among the first to formalize it as a company benefit. The New York Times reported another company, based in New York, gives its employees two weeks of paid leave, if they adopt a rescue animal or get an exotic animal.

Nina Hale decided to offer its fur-ternity benefit, which began in July, because a number of employees over the years had asked to work at home after adopting a pet. After the latest request, the company decided to make it a formal thing. – Tribune News Service/The Mercury News/Joan Morris

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