Tag: Photo Kasey Rowland
Government benefits ensure new parents are offered paid maternity and paternity leave, and a UK company is now offering its Australian employees a similar scheme when they bring home a new pet.
- A Brisbane brewery is offering “pawternity leave” for staff who are new pet owners
- The week-long paid pet leave is meant to be an incentive for employees to stay longer
- RSCPA Queensland says getting a pet is like bringing a new baby home and it is important to have time to bond
The “pawternity leave” scheme is available to staff at BrewDog’s Brisbane brewery, which opened late November, company spokesman Calvin McDonald said.
“Pawternity leave is a great benefit that BrewDog can offer its employees worldwide,” he said.
“Basically it’s an extra paid week of leave that you’re able to take when you adopt a puppy or get a new puppy in the house.”
Mr McDonald said the perk had been crucial to retaining staff in an industry like hospitality — notorious for its high turnover.
“It means that they don’t really want to leave and go anywhere else,” Mr McDonald said.
While it is an unusual incentive, paid new-pet leave is not completely unheard of in the Australian or international employment market.
The concept has been praised by the RSPCA Queensland, which recommended monitoring pets brought home from their facilities very closely.
RSPCA spokeswoman Nanda Ten Grotenhuis said the first few days could be crucial.
“It’s a bit like bringing a new baby home so, you know, you need a little bit of special time for you to bond with that animal to make them feel comfortable,” Ms Ten Grotenhuis said.
Staff at RSPCA Queensland are not offered “pawternity leave”, but staff can take sick or carer’s leave when their own pet is unwell.
Brisbane mum Kasey Rowland took two weeks annual leave this time last year, when she introduced her new Cavoodle, Raphael, to her young family.
The part-time worker was not entitled to paid pet leave but said she was honest with her employer, who allowed her to take the break and ensure her pet assimilated safely.
“I think it’s part of being a responsible dog owner, that you make sure that they’re safe and happy and stimulated,” Ms Rowland said.
“I was a bit worried because for a small dog it’s a huge place and he could get into things and get his head stuck in the fence.”
BrewDog has offered the incentive for several years now to its staff internationally.
Sydney-based Pet Circle is another company ensuring its staff are compensated when looking after a new pet.
Lisa Bradley, from the Queensland University of Technology’s business school, said it was increasingly common for employers to negotiate flexible working conditions to attract hard-working staff.
“Different types of leave provisions are the most common and being able to work from different locations and at different times,” she said.
Ms Bradley said it was hard to weigh up the cost benefits for employers who were ultimately pursuing “increased organisational commitment”.
“That means the person is going to want to continue to work for the organisation and put in their best for the organisation, so sometimes you can’t measure the benefits of that directly,” Ms Bradley said.