The Situation Room – I’ll just say no thanks, turn down ‘pawternity’ benefits if they’re offered

Mac Olsen

According to an article on the website, several companies in the United Kingdom are offering ‘pawternity leave’ to their employess.

Like all pet owners, I love my cats and I hope to own a Husky one day.

But it is absolutely absurdity to offer ‘pawternity’ benefits, and I would turn them down if they were offered to me.

“Mars Petcare was one of the first companies to offer pawternity leave. The company offers its employees ten hours of paid leave when they get a new pet, and they can bring them into the office after that,” says the story.

It also says another company, Mparticle, offers two weeks of paid leave if an employee adopts a rescue dog. A recruiter for the company, says it’s to provide time for training and walks.

“We offer maternity and paternity leave and a pet is just another member of the family,” she said. “We don’t discriminate just because they aren’t human.”

How can someone equate humans with animals in this regard?

Animals cannot be put on the same level as humans this way!

Yes, maternity and paternity benefits should be provided with the arrival of a newborn baby. That bonding time is essential for the family.

But it’s arrogant and absurd to think that pets can be equated in the same way. We elevate animals to the same level as humans and expect that the world has to do the same.

However, we have to draw a line and refocus the argument that it’s individual responsibility that matters the most and get away from this nanny state concept of having to coddle and pamper our animals.

It’s not the responsibility of employers or society to have to pamper and coddle our pets.

Yes, I love my cats and I ensure that they are well fed, go for their veterinary appointments and they are protected from harm. And someday, if I get the property, I want a Husky.

But never would I expect my employer to provide me with paid or unpaid time off to look after my pets, even those that are newly arrived.

If I get a Husky, it will be up to me, on my own time, to research that animal, consult with other Husky owners about their experience with their dogs, and travel to a licenced kennel to get my animal. Nowhere does it say that my employer must provide ‘pawternity’ benefits for me to get and look after that Husky.

My position about this issue should not be construed as taking away from those who specialize in looking after animals, such as respite workers. Several volunteers for In the Woods Animal Rescue take cats and dogs home for respite and I commend them for their service.

Also, I have a wheelchair-confined friend in Kamloops, B.C. who looks after retired guide dogs. I also admire and commend him for providing this service.

But, in the end, I would never expect anyone to provide ‘pawternity’ benefits to me for the purpose of coddling and pampering my new pet.

Pets have their place in the family, but aren’t supposed to be granted equality with humans.


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