New pets demand a lot of attention and love, particularly during the first few weeks in their new home. So how do you juggle the responsibilities of pet parenthood with a full-time job? Pawternity leave could be the answer.
Pets are an important part of our lives and the mental-health benefits of having them around have been proven time and time again. The RSPCA reports that owning a pet can increase cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, make you more empathetic and lessen depression and stress.
Taking notice of the irreplaceable roles that fur babies have for many employees, some companies around the world have started introducing what is becoming known as 'pawternity leave' - that is, paid leave for staff to look after new pets.
Scottish company BrewDog announced last year that any of its employees who decide to adopt a puppy or rescue dog will be entitled to one week of paid leave to help settle their new fur babies into their homes.
In India, HarperCollins Publishers also offers their employees five days of paid pawternity leave, if they have just adopted a new pet.
"Pet children need as much attention [as human children], if not more." Ananth Padmanabhan, Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins India, told HuffPost India.
Although Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to paid leave specifically to care for pets, it is full of pet-friendly workplaces.
Mars Petcare Australia - who own brands like Pedigree, Chum and Whiskas - not only allow employees to bring their pets into the office, but also offer an onsite off-leash park, unlimited treats for four-legged friends and flexible working opportunities for staff members with new pets.
A well-behaved puppy in Mars Petcare's Australian head office
Cotton On Group also encourages pooches at their head office in North Geelong, which is documented by employees on Instagram using #dogsofcottonon.
So while pawternity leave isn't exactly an HR-trend that's spreading like wildfire, we can only hope that HR Directors around Australia might be reading this and take note of the forward-thinking companies who have formally acknowledged the importance of pets to their staff's wellbeing.