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2019 workplace trends: pawternity benefits

It may sound barking mad, but "pawternity" benefits -- a.k.a. time off to be with a new pet -- are shaping up to be a hot workplace perk for 2019. Woof!

Our pets are our furry babies, so why shouldn't employees get some time off to acquaint a newly-adopted dog with its surroundings? As usual, the Nordic countries are ahead of us on this idea, with a Nordic pet-food company recently adopting "pawternity" leave for its international workforce.

Pawternity benefits are sniffing around the edges of U.S. workplace culture, mainly in largely urban centers such as New York City. Like it or not, "puppy parental leave" is on the verge of becoming a thing.

Puppy Time!
Puppies need their people, especially when they're newly-adopted. Like a human toddler, they need constant, direct supervision. But pawternity leave could be good for humans, too. According to

Pawternity, or fur-ternity, has some big benefits. The National Institute of Health found that pet owners have lower stress and depression levels, creating a happier and more productive workforce. A study by Petplan found that 5 percent of U.S. companies currently offer paid pawternity leave. The average amount of leave offered is one week, such as at BitSol Solutions — a programming and support services company — and BrewDog, a brewery. Mparticle, a customer data platform, goes above and beyond with two weeks paid leave for employees who adopt a rescue dog. Woof.

Such a benefit could also make it easier for some employees to make the decision to adopt a dog. Knowing there's a work benefit in place that would help them bridge the transition to pet ownership might just be the thing that makes their mind up for them. As an employer, you could play a role in getting a few shelter dogs into a new home.

Who Let the Dogs Out
If you don't have a dog and never plan to, then this post won't make any damn sense. But if you've been thinking about pet adoption (or have recently adopted a dog, congratulations!), then this trending workplace benefit could definitely perk up your ears as you scan the job listings.

I know what you're thinking: Millennials. Yes, it's definitely the kind of work perk that Millennial managers would adopt, but I think it's a good one. It shows that a company not only cares about its people, it cares about their pets, too. This is how my dog would react. By taking a good, long nap.


Pawternity leave is a rather progressive workplace perk, so we'll see how many employers take to it like a dog with a bone in 2019. As a country, we still can't wrap our heads around the idea of paid human family leave, much less the idea of taking some time off to be with a new pet.

Still, forward-thinking employers could keep pawternity benefits in their back pocket next year, sort of like a training treat, or a dog toy. Hey, we all need incentive to do the work. Good sit, now settle.


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