Benefits and Compensation

Benefits You May Not Have Considered: Pet-Related Employee Benefits

There are millions of pet owners across the country. This, of course, means that almost all employers have employees who have cherished pets—employees who would likely be happy to have employment benefits that help make pet ownership easier.

Source: Andrii Zastrozhnov / shutterstock

Is this something your organization has considered—benefits related to pets? Here are some examples of benefits you may not have considered that may help attract and retain pet-owning employees:

  • Allowing employees to bring their dog to work, either at any time or on designated days. This benefit can reduce employee stress and improve workplace morale. Of course, there are cons, too—check out this article for further discussion of allowing dogs in the workplace.
  • Pet insurance. This benefit has the advantage of being easy to implement and relatively affordable—and can have big dividends if ever needed by the employees. This benefit can either be fully paid by the employer, or the cost can be split. It could even be offered as a benefit that the employee pays for, but the employer arranges and gets everyone a discounted rate.
  • Employer-paid kenneling or pet-sitting services when the employee must travel for work. This can relieve the stress of handling pet care while away. If not fully paid for, employers could offer discounts on these services from local providers.
  • On-site pet care facilities are another option. Like the item above, this one simply brings the care in-house, either for full-time care during the workday or for times when employees travel.
  • Discounted or free pet walking or care for regular workdays, offered much like the items above.
  • Sponsoring or encouraging pet-related activities outside of work, such as company events at pet friendly venues. This has the advantage of being simple, while promoting and encouraging pet ownership, which is shown to have benefits for stress levels.
  • Offering discounts on pet supplies, like food and treats.
  • Bringing therapy dogs into the work environment, which can have some of the benefits of allowing pets on-site (like stress reduction and improved morale) without several of the associated risks of allowing all employee pets to be on-site. (Be sure to partner with organizations that have licensed therapy dogs.)
  • Allowing a leave of absence when a new pet is introduced into the household, to ease the transition period for the new pet owner. This is sometimes called “pawternity” leave; learn more here.
  • Allowing bereavement leave after the loss of a pet, much like you would for the loss of a family member. Many people consider their pets to be important members of their family.
  • Allowing time off to volunteer in an animal-related capacity, such as at a local animal shelter. This can also show support for pets while being inexpensive to implement.

Embracing pets can be a way to show employees you care. Pet friendly workplaces and policies can help to attract and retain employees in a time when it’s  difficult to do so. Being around pets can improve morale and even well-being.

What has been your experience? Has your organization added any pet-related benefits for employees? What would you add to this list?