Pet Bereavement Leave: What is it and Why Offer it? 

 August 5, 2016

boy kissing dog

Tears, sadness, and grief. They all accompany the bereavement of losing a friend or family member, and they all accompany the bereavement of losing a beloved pet. More companies are now offering pet bereavement leave to support these grief-stricken employees.

As the number of pet owners grows, the desire for pet bereavement leave is likely to increase. A 2015 Harris Poll found that 62 percent of Americans have at least one pet in their household.

The two youngest generations (Millennials and Gen X) have the highest rates of pet ownership at 65 and 71 percent respectively. As more millennials enter the professional world, businesses need to prepare themselves to support pet owners.


What is pet bereavement leave?

Pet bereavement leave is paid time off for an employee to mourn the death of their pet. Employers who offer pet bereavement leave typically offer between one and three days of paid leave for pet bereavement.

This leave is designed to support employees through their loss without forcing them to use PTO or call in sick.

pet bereavement

Why offer pet bereavement leave?

Your company receives multiple benefits from offering your staff paid pet bereavement leave. Providing pet bereavement leave can reduce the amount of accidents and mistakes caused by a bereaved employee.

The Grief Recovery Institute found that grieving workers cost U.S. businesses $37.6 billion a year. This study also found that grief affected both white and blue-collar workers

Over 85 percent of management-level decision-makers said their decision-making was very poor, poor, or fair following a grief incident. Almost 90 percent of those in blue-collar and other physical jobs reported a greater rate of physical injury due to reduced concentration following a grief incident.

pet bereavement

It may be difficult to understand for some, but bereavement stemming from the death of a pet can be similar to that of losing a loved one. This level of grief can lead to mental mistakes and clouded decision-making, which can ultimately affect a business’s productivity and bottom line.

Offering pet owners paid bereavement leave can help to reduce the mistakes and accidents that could result from bereaved employees. Another benefit of offering pet bereavement leave is that it shows your staff that you care about them.

People are increasingly considering their pets a family member. Over 95 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be part of their family, which is up 4 percent from 2012.

Offering pet bereavement leave acknowledges the importance of these pets to your employees. This leave shows your employees that you care about the same issues they do, which can increase employee satisfaction and engagement.


The Wrap

Providing employees with even one day of paid pet bereavement leave can offer your business several benefits. This leave can cut down on mental mistakes and injuries that occur due to grief.

It also shows your employees that you care about what is important to them, which can increase engagement and satisfaction. Grief resulting from death is no less real because the dead had four legs and a tail.