‘Paw-ternity’ leave: Should employers offer paid time off for new pet owners?


Just days after author Meghann Foye sparked a social-media firestorm after suggesting in the New York Post that childless workers should receive time off for ‘meternity’ another unlikely group is making headlines for getting their own version of paid family leave.

According to Public Radio International, a few employers in the United Kingdom have started offering ‘paw-ternity’ leave – paid time off for new pet owners. 

Read more: ‘Meternity’ leave: A paid sabbatical for working women without kids?

Pawternity leave: Paid time off for pet owners?

One of those companies is BitSol Solutions in Manchester, England, where workers can take a week off to care for a four-legged friend.

 “We got a puppy from a rescue home, and we realized it needed to be looked after properly, so I took a week off to ensure it was welcomed into the home, and to set boundaries for the dogs,’ the company’s owner, Greg Buchanan, told PRI. ‘You know, ‘You can’t chew the couch’ and ‘You can’t jump on the television,’ things like that. And it went from there, and my dog is now better for it.’

New York Post writer Lindsay Putnam is all for the idea. In a column Monday, she urged companies in the U.S. to adopt similar policies.

‘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,’ she wrote.

Putnam also pointed to a Psychology Today report that pet owners are healthier and happier than people without ‘fur babies.’


‘Having kids doesn’t improve an employee’s health – which would make them better workers – yet we grant them six weeks off to care for a newborn,’ she wrote. ‘Is it so much to ask that pet parents get a week off to do the same?’

The social-media response was mixed, ranging from disbelief and outrage to enthusiastic support.

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