22 August 2018 at 10:29 BST

'Fur-ternity leave' new employee benefit is a 'no brainer'

Will in-house counsel have to 'paws for thought' as new benefit introduced? Or will it will it make the fur fly?


Nina Hale, a Minneapolis marketing company, has introduced ‘fur-ternity leave’ amongst its employee benefits, and offered the ability to work from home for a week to welcome new dogs or cats, according to a report in the New York Times.

No brainer

Allison McMenimen, a vice president at the company, told the paper ‘this is kind of a no-brainer,’ adding ‘the idea of offering benefits that just help keep employees at the office, that’s over.’Employee benefits have been developing in recent years, including tech giants like Facebook and Google providing gourmet meals in cafeterias, gyms at work and day cares on site. The idea extends recent cases in Italy, where a company allowed a woman last year to take paid time off when her dog became sick, and in New York, where employees at data company mParticle offered ‘paw-ternity leave’ of two weeks paid time off for those who adopt a rescue dog or get an exotic pet, such as an iguana. The NYT notes it is not immediately clear whether ‘fur-ternity’ or ‘paw-ternity’ is the industry standard term.

Crucial first week

A recent beneficiary Connor McCarthy, a senior account manager at Nina Hale, received time off as he sought the adoption of a goldendoodle puppy named Bentley. Mr. McCarthy, 26, said he had read a lot about the pitfalls of helping a dog adjust to a new environment, saying ‘it can be a stressful situation going from its original home to a new home.’ Worried about Bentley, then just 2 months old, being home alone, Mr. McCarthy sent a request to his boss and Ms. McMenimen to work from home the first week to help Bentley get used to his new surroundings, including a kennel, and learn to go to the bathroom outside. Absolutely, they said. Ms. McMenimen, who is also considering getting a pet, explained ‘for a lot of people, their pets are their children,’ adding ‘our employees are at all different stages of their lives.’ NYT reports that nearly three months after Mr McCarthy got his dog, Bentley is potty-trained and socializes well with others at the dog park in his apartment complex, the owner noting ‘that first week is crucial.’


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