Paw-Ternity Leave, Wishful Thinking, or Possibility?

Paw-Ternity Leave, Hopeful Wish or Possible Reality?

For most, pets are a part of our family. For some, their pets are the only family they have. When we decide to adopt a new pet into our family, should we expect our employer to provide us with similar time off benefits for our new pets as they do for newborn children? A lot of employers are becoming dog-friendly environments and allow their employees to bring their dogs to work with them. However, is being able to get paid time off to bond with your new furry family member realistic? In parts of the UK, it is. According to Public Radio International, companies give their employees time off to care for their pets, with benefits that can range from a few hours to a few months.

Paw-Ternity Leave, Wishful Thinking, or Possibility?

A lot of pet owners feel they need to spend extra time with their newly adopted pets to bond and set boundaries for them. Owners of shelter-adopted pets feel strongly that they have to earn the animal’s trust and show them extra love since many of them come from an abusive background. The initial time spent with their pets benefits them for the rest of their lifelong relationship.

Is it a fetching concept or a future reality? According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), Americans went from spending $17 billion in 1994 on their pets to over $60 billion in the last year. The APPA estimates that there are approximately 80 million dogs and 96 million cats in U.S. households. By contrast, there are only 73.6 million children in U.S. household under the age 18.

Paw-Ternity Leave, Wishful Thinking, or Possibility?

“It’s time for the U.S. to hop abroad the ‘paw-ternity’ train,” pet owner and features editor, Lindsay Putnam, wrote in the New York Post. “It’s not just because I want to stay home and cuddle on the couch with my new feline (which I do), I couldn’t think that, just as Jameson was getting used to me, he feared I, too, was abandoning him. The guilt continues today. While my co-workers with kids walk out the door at 6 p.m., no one seems to care that I also have a child at home waiting for dinner.”

Whether it’s a newborn human baby waiting for you at home or a newly adopted puppy, a lot of parents feel they need to be able to spend quality time with their newest family member. Those first few days or weeks spent together build the foundations for the rest of their life. As pets are becoming more common in households and play a huge role in people’s lives, most people believe they should be treated equally important as humans and they should not be viewed as just an accessory to the house or family. They are living beings that are a part of the family and should be treated as such. Parents that decide to adopt these new family members should have the same benefits as parents that decide to have a baby. Benefits like paid time off could result in happier, more productive and long term employees.

Guest Writer: Mira Alicki is a jewelry designer and goldsmith for the past 22 years. Her passion for animals led her to create her own line of jewelry and online store to benefit charities. 40% of each purchase is donated back to the animal community. You can find Mira on Twitter (@FIMHjewelry) or Forever In My Heart.


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Would you take advantage of the opportunity if you could?


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7 thoughts on “Paw-Ternity Leave, Wishful Thinking, or Possibility?”

  1. I say a big “YES!” As people we have the choice to have children. Women who have children get maternity leave. But what about women who choose not to have kids or can’t have kids? We should get equal benefits – and so should men. So I say yes to paw-ternity leave!

  2. I love this post and will be sharing. I was feral when I came home and fortunately for me—not him—Pop had surgery 10 days after I arrived. We had plenty of time to bond during the six weeks he was home. In a day and age when many U.S. companies don’t give sick days, it’s pie in the sky to think they’d allow paw-ternity leave.

    • Lucky for you that you were able to have the time to bond before Pop had to return to work. Yay! That’s great! Thanks so much for taking the time to read the post, and thank you for sharing.

  3. My company is awesome and while they don’t offer this formally, they have given me requested time off for my pet-related needs whether that is an adjusted schedule for a new pet or emergency leave for vet appointments.

    • It’s great that your company allows you to take time off for pet-related appointments and such. That’s generous of them. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read the post. I appreciate you!


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