A craft brewing company, Brew-Dog, has announced that its 540 employees will now have the option of taking ‘paw-ternity’ leave if they get a new dog. The leave entitlement will be for one week and the dog can be a puppy or older dog. Brew-Dog’s co-founder stated that “At BrewDog, we care about two things above all else: People and beer. We also just really, really like dogs”. Nuala Murphy explores the details.
Today employees have numerous rights to leave, including maternity, paternity, time off for dependants, shared parental and adoption leave. There are now even proposals for grandparents to be able to share parental leave. Brew-dog, in addition to all of this, is providing its staff with leave to care for their new dog. There is no statutory right to this time off but it highlights a growing trend to be more flexible towards staff and a decision by an employer to do something that in effect will make their staff happy. Brew-Dog have said: “We always want to raise the bar when it comes to offering our staff the best possible benefits.”
To me, ‘Paw-ternity leave’ is akin to employers offering duvet days, days off for moving house, days off to learn a skill you have always been interested in and days off to reward an employee for long service. From an employee relations point of view, if it makes your staff happy and their lives easier at home, the hope is that they will be a more productive and giving workforce. Many employment surveys have revealed that pay is not the main motivator for staff. Different types of leave also address the issue of how flexible we are to those staff who do not have children. These employees can feel left out by the fact they are not provided with any additional rights in the workplace. Some people’s dogs will even be ‘their children’ and why not, dogs are a man’s best friend.
Different people will have views on this type of leave and I cannot see the Government making such leave a legal requirement, but surely anything that makes you like and value the company you work for more, is a good thing.
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Nuala Murphy, Associate, Employment