Pet Perks at Work

National Pet Day is just another reason to celebrate our furry friends and the joy their companionship brings. Over half of U.S. households owned some sort of pet in 2016—the highest ever recorded (according to the American Pet Products Association). With pet ownership at an all-time high, it makes sense that pet insurance, pets at work, pawternity leave and pet bereavement leave are benefit trends making their way into workplaces everywhere.

Pet Perks at Work

1. Pet Insurance

According to the International Foundation 2018 Employee Benefits Survey, 16% of employers offered pet insurance as a voluntary benefit in 2016, and 18% offered it in 2018. Pet insurance typically covers veterinary care for accidents and illnesses and doesn’t usually cover routine preventive care. Having pet insurance in place can potentially save employees from serious financial stress if a medical emergency occurs.

2. Pets at Work

Before you start printing business cards for Fido, VP of cuteness, employers have many things to consider before allowing employees to bring pets into the workplace. Pets at work can help with recruitment, retention and stress relief, and they can make pet parents/employees feel less distracted about leaving Fido at home. On the flip side, they could be distracting for other workers (especially those with allergies!), and employers could face potential problems like damage and legal issues. Allowing pets in the workplace is common among only 2% of employers, and that number was also 2% in 2016.

If you’re thinking of allowing pets at work, start with a “bring your pet to work DAY” instead of “bring your pet to work EVERY DAY” and see how that goes—how many participate, how the pets behave and how employees react. If you do decide to offer the benefit, set rules and expectations for both the pets and the pet parents. Perhaps set pet zones and non-pet zones in the building for workers with allergies.

3. Pawternity Leave

Also known as pet care leave with a cuter name. Pawternity leave provides employees with time off to help a pet (and themselves!) adjust to its new home. According to the International Foundation Paid Leave in the Workplace survey report, 19% of employers said that they offer pawternity through a paid time off bank where workers can combine different kinds of leaves into one. Only 1% offer pawternity through a separate paid plan, and 6% offer through unpaid leave.

4. Pet Bereavement Leave

We all know that pets are part of the family, and a pet passing away can take a huge emotional toll on a worker. Some employers offer 1-3 days of paid or unpaid leave for the loss of a pet.

Happy National Pet Day!

Since I love both puns and pets almost equally, here are a couple to help you celebrate National Pet Day. What are your experiences with pets and the workplace? Please share in the comments below!

  • Pet Perks at Work
  • Pet Perks at Work
  • Pet Perks at Work

Anne Patterson
Communications Associate at the International Foundation

Washington Legislative Update

The latest from Word on Benefits:

Anne Patterson

Social Media and Communications Associate at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: The innovative member survey efforts and results from the research team.

Benefits-related topics that interest her most: Health care, nontraditional wellness initiatives, employee benefit communication.

Personal Insight: It’s all about balance with Anne. She loves to run and enjoys a good culinary adventure. She’ll jump at the chance to travel or to spend fun times with family and friends, but she’ll also take time to catch her breath with an occasional Netflix binge or diving into a classic novel.

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