A retail boss has sparked a huge debate online after suggesting workers with new dogs should be given “pawternity” leave.
Roger Wade, founder of Boxpark, a chain of pop-up shopping and dining malls, said he was asked by a worker if he could have paternity leave to look after his new puppy.
Mr Wade posed the question to social media users on LinkedIn and received thousands of responses – with people divided on what he should do.
A poll attached to his post found 61% of people were against the idea of time off to look after a dog.
One respondent said the suggestion was proof that the “world has officially gone mad” and added: “39% of people actually think it’s ok to have time off for having a dog!”
Another said: “It’s hard enough at times with people on annual leave and/or maternity or paternity leave – all perfectly acceptable.
“Trying to fill gaps puts pressure on other colleagues and the business in general. If you’re getting a pet – it’s a lifestyle choice.”
A third added: “It’s a sad situation – but still no.”
However, other people believed that the boss would be right to let his employee have time off to look after his puppy.
One person said: “Come on people. In today’s harsh, negative and work heavy world surely we can put more value to people’s lives by considering these relatively small requests.”
Another added: “I agree, I like the idea of special event leave.”
A third said: “Some people are not fortunate enough to be able to have children and having a dog is their fur baby and new addition to the family.”
Responding to one of the comments, Mr Wade said he agreed the employee could work from home in what he described as a “win-win” situation.
He said: “We are back in the office. He asked for leave but we agreed he could work from home. Bailey and employee are both happy.”
Companies don’t legally have to let you have time off to look after a new pet but a small number of companies are starting to.
For example, Mars Petcare and BrewDog both offer its employees paid leave when they get a new pet.
The Times reports that Petplan, a pet insurance company, states 5% of owners have been offered leave to help settle new animals.