Paid vacation, sick, and personal days are part of many companies’ standard employee benefit packages. Some organizations go a step further, however, and offer their employees additional perks. As more people consider pets just as much a part of the family as any human counterpart, pet-friendly benefits are a growing trend that both employers and employees value.
Zesty Paws®, a Delaware-based provider of pet health supplements and grooming supplies, recently announced a new Paw-ternity time off and pet adoption policy for its workers. The new Paw-ternity leave policy allows all eligible employees to take an extra day of paid time off each year to spend with their pets. Employees who choose to take advantage of the policy are asked to take a picture of their pet and provide a short summary of how they spent their day with their pet, which will be shared with other employees.
“An important element to our Paw-ternity leave policy is to acknowledge our commitment to rescue and adoption,” said Zach Popovich, COO, Zesty Paws. “We believe every animal deserves a loving home, and we strive to do our part to encourage this as devoted pet-parents.”
In addition to time off for current pets, Zesty Paws also supports employees who adopt or rescue a pet by offering an additional paid day off, and will pay 50 percent towards any new pet adoption and rescue fees. The policy is meant to “encourage responsible pet care and practices, as well as spread the warmth that pet parenthood can bring.”
The Benefit Of Pet-Friendly Benefits
Zesty Paws is just one of a growing number of companies that are realizing the benefits of offering employees pet-related perks. A recent study by Nationwide in partnership with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), indicates companies offering pet-friendly benefits are more likely to attract, engage, and retain employees.
The study reveals that 90 percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission; fully engaged with their work; and willing to recommend their employer to others. In contrast, less than 65 percent of employees in non-pet friendly workplaces made the same claims.
Additionally, more than three times as many employees at pet-friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss and co-workers, significantly more than those in non-pet friendly environments. Moreover, these employees are more likely to stay with a company long term. The findings held true even among non-pet owners in both pet-friendly and non-pet friendly workplaces. The study defines a pet-friendly workplace as one that allows pets in the workplace (regularly or occasionally) and/or offers a pet-friendly employee benefit, such as pet health insurance.
Here are some key findings from the pet friendly workplace effectiveness study:
“The results of the Nationwide/HABRI study clearly indicate a significantly higher level of employee engagement, retention, attraction, and presenteeism among employees that work in pet-friendly work environments,” said Scott Liles, vice president and chief pet insurance officer for Nationwide. “In consideration of the discernable cost of employee turnover, adding pet-friendly benefits such as pet health insurance can provide significant savings to a company’s bottom line.”
When viewed across generations, millennials are far more likely than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts to value a pet-friendly work environment, according to the Nationwide/HABRI study:
“Pet owners increasingly think of their pets as members of the family,” said Steven Feldman, executive director of HABRI. “When employers offer pet-friendly benefits, it sends an important signal that the company cares about every member of the family, even the ones with four legs.”