Employers Urged to Allow Bereavement Leave for Pet Deaths

August 16, 20193min

A petition by UK employees is calling for workers to be allowed “bereavement leave” in the event of a pet’s death.

The campaign began after 18-year-old sandwich shop worker Emma McNulty, of Baillieston in Scotland, was fired after missing a day following the death of her Yorkshire terrier Milly.

Despite having the dog in her life from the age of four, Emma was sacked the day after informing bosses she was unable to attend because she lost her “best friend”.

A petition calling for the allowance of bereavement leave following the death of a pet has nearly reached 10,000 signatures. Emma started the petition in the hopes that other employees facing similar circumstances can take compassionate leave and not place their job at risk.

Dog-gone: Calls have been made to compassion to be shown to bereaved pet owners

In the UK, all employees have the right to take time off to deal with an emergency concerning a dependant. This can apply to spouses, parents, grandparents, children, or someone who depends on you for care.

However, more employees than ever consider pets as family, with 85 percent of millennials agreeing pets should be treated as loved ones. Fifty-three percent of millennials also believe employers should allow for a period of ‘pet-ernity leave’ to spend time with newly arrived pets.

The survey revealed that 46 percent of millennials see themselves as a ‘pet parent’ rather than a pet owner.

Dr Steph Wenban, Front of The Pack’s vet and pet wellbeing expert, said: “For many homes, pets constitute as family members and are treated with the same love and care as a relative. Therefore, the loss of a pet is extremely saddening and can affect the owners ability to function just as the bereavement of a normal family member. Employers should recognise this, compassionate leave should be granted on emotional attachment and subsequent loss, not black and white guidelines that are hugely subjective from person to person as to what constitutes as loss.”

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.

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