Moms and dads in the United States often grapple with how much parental leave — either paid or unpaid — to take. That’s not the case in several Nordic countries — and the CEO of a company based in Finland is taking the country’s already-amazing parental leave policy to the next level by giving paid "pawternity leave" to employees with new pets at home.
The Musti Group — a pet supply company that serves several Nordic countries — announced the new pawternity policy on Thursday.
"Pets always come first in everything we do, and that’s why Pawternity leave is a natural step in developing our culture," Musti Group CEO David Rönnberg, said in a statement. "Adopting a pet is a significant decision and changes everyday life considerably. We want to support our employees during their first days with their new family member and ensure that they can enjoy those precious moments to the fullest."
Pawternity leave, really?
The idea of pet parental leave — pawternity leave — might seem ridiculous, but anyone who has cared for a puppy or kitten know just how challenging training can be, especially when you’re at work all day. You have to come home multiple times during the day to take them out, or arrange for an (expensive) pet sitter to help.
"Depending on the needs of each pet, the first days spent together can be rather intense, and sleepless nights are more than familiar to recent pet parents," added Rönnberg. "A baby animal requires constant attention and unconditional love. Paying attention to a pet’s needs and spending time with them supports their learning, builds trust and helps prevent behavioral disorders in the future."
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And then there’s obedience training. Proper training takes time and repetition to master, which is why many pet owner don’t bother training their pets at all. With this new policy, Henri Mäkinen, marketing director of Musti Group said employees can help improve the well-being of their entire family and reduce stress.
"Puppy socialization and training can’t happen during evenings or weekends alone. A puppy might feel both insecure and lost in their new home, without the presence of their mother and siblings. If a pet is left alone for too long, they will find all sorts of things to do – not all of them necessarily pleasant to the owner."
Other companies allow parental leave for pets, too
Believe it or not, other companies also offer paid pawternity leave for new pet owners — as many as 5 percent of company owners, according to research from Petplan.
Some companies also offer pet bereavement leave for when a beloved "fur baby" dies.
"We offer maternity and paternity leave, and a pet is another member of the family," the head of talent acquisition at a data services firm told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. "We don’t discriminate just because they aren’t human."