Move over, maternity leave. Time off to care for your new dog or cat is the latest workplace benefit to generate buzz.
In May, Connor McCarthy welcomed the newest addition to his family: Bentley, a two-month-old Goldendoodle.
McCarthy got to stay home and watch over the puppy thanks to his company's new "fur-ternity leave."
Nina Hale, a Minneapolis digital marketing company, offers employees one week of flexible hours to care for new pets.
McCarthy and his girlfriend had been planning to adopt a puppy and knew that the first week was critical to the puppy-person bonding period. So he asked his supervisor for flexible hours. His request was approved in a day.
The new policy became an official company benefit in July.
"Nina Hale leadership had heard from team members that this specific benefit would help increase work-life happiness, which for Nina Hale, is a huge part of their employee culture," said Amber Schwab, senior specialist of client development and marketing to Miami Herald. "While Nina Hale proudly offers other top-notch modern benefits, including employee ownership, remote working flexibility, and a sunny new office with a free gym, fur-ternity leave was embraced as a new benefit because they noticed a growing trend in new pet-ownership within the agency family over the last year."
More than ever, companies across the country are offering new benefits to enhance work-life balance and retain employees.
Still, it's rare to see perks when it comes to pets. According to the New York Times, an Italian company allowed a woman last year to take paid time off when her dog became sick. And employees at mParticle, a data company in New York, are offered "paw-ternity leave" — two weeks of paid time off for those who adopt a rescue dog or get an exotic pet, such as an iguana.
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