pets in the workplace

How to Create a Fair and Effective Policy for Pets in the Workplace

Look around your office or workplace. More than two of every three people you work with own a pet. According to the 2017-18 National Pet Owners Survey, approximately 68 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet. And, these pet owners spent a combined $69.51 billion on their pets in 2017, up almost $3 billion from the previous year.

Not only do people own more pets, but more people also consider their pets family members.  In a 2015 Harris Poll, 95 percent of pet owners said they consider their pets to be a part of their family. So, people are owning more pets, spending more money on them, and believe them a part of the family.

Whether you know it or not, pet ownership is likely affecting your company. As a result, your company needs a clear and effective, written policy detailing your organization’s relationship with pets. Below we’ll go through four pet-friendly benefits, then detail how our furry friends can positively affect your business.

 

1. Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is medical insurance, for pets. Simple enough, right? If your pet has an accident, illness, or injury and needs veterinary care, pet insurance helps cover some or all the costs of treatment. It’s important to note that, most pet insurance policies don’t include coverage for routine care and exams.

But pet insurance, like other forms of insurance, is becoming more customizable. Pet owners can now choose between different deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximums that best fit their, and their pet’s, needs. Similarly, pet owners can choose between plans that cover accident and illness, and accident-only.

pets at work

Premiums typically cost between $10 to $100 a month. Premiums for dogs generally are more expensive than those for cats. The average cost of coverage for dog’s ranges from $30-$150 a month. Conversely, coverage for cats is usually between $10 and $50 a month.

There are a few fundamental differences between insurance for man and man’s best friend. The first difference is a clear majority of pet insurance plans don’t have an in-network provider. Because of this lack of network, pet owners can choose any veterinarian they want, or what’s closest, without having to worry about paying an out-of-network charge.

The second key difference is a majority of pet insurance policies rely on a system of reimbursement. This system means pet owners will still have to save cash for costly procedures, even if their pet is covered.

After paying for treatment, the pet owner files a claim and is reimbursed after that claim is approved. So, pet owners with pet insurance will still need to save money in case their furry friends experience a medical emergency.

Learn more about the benefits of pet insurance.

 

2. Pet Bereavement Leave

Pet bereavement leave is paid time off for an employee to mourn the death of their pet. Most employers, who provide pet bereavement leave, give 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, call in sick, or use unpaid leave.

dog in sweater

As previously mentioned, most pet owners consider their pets a member of their family. The closer your employees are to their pets, the more these animal’s deaths can impact them. Professor Sandra Barker, director of the Centre for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, has done extensive research on this subject.

According to Barker, this research has shown that “Losing a beloved pet is certainly a significant loss,” she says. When a pet dies is lost or stolen, many of us feel a deep sense of loss and our lives suddenly seem turned upside down.”

Read more on pet bereavement leave.

 

3. Pawternity Leave

Pawternity leave, also known as fur-ternity leave, is paid time off for those who adopt, rescue, or buy a new dog or other pet. This leave gives new pet owners the chance to care for their new “family member” without burning through their PTO or having to worry about using unpaid leave.

 

4. Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defines a service animal as an animal that’s been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. These animals are trained to assist their owners with conditions ranging from visual and hearing impairments to PTSD and diabetes.

It’s important to know that service animals differ from emotional support, therapy, or companion animals. While these animals can help their owner, they aren’t trained to perform a specific job or task. So, under the ADA, a request to bring a service animal to work is processed as any other request for a reasonable accommodation. Emotional support animals, on the other hand, don’t qualify as a reasonable accommodation through the ADA.

 

Benefiting from Pets

Creating a policy that welcomes pets in the workplace, can give your organization a multitude of benefit. Pet-friendly environments can help to attract, retain, and support employees. We know, pet owners, more and more, see their pets as family members. Pet-friendly benefits can align company and employee values.

puppy

Additionally, a recent study conducted by Nationwide found 90 percent of workers in pet-friendly workplaces feel more connected to their company’s mission. This number is more significant than the 65 percent of employees in non-pet-friendly workplaces who feel the same.

The study also reported camaraderie and positive relationships between both supervisors and co-workers improved with pets in the office. Fifty-two and fifty-three percent of employees in pet-friendly environments claimed they had positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers, respectively.

These numbers are a marked improvement over the 14 and 19 percent of respondents, in non-pet-friendly workplaces that said the same. Bringing pets into the office can improve your employees’ engagement and satisfaction with their jobs.

Finally, pet-friendly benefits help your employees, and conversely your business, through finances. Last year, U.S. pet owners spent a combined $17.07 billion on veterinary care alone. Every six seconds, a pet owner faces a veterinary bill of $5,000 or more.

While a $5,000 bill may not seem significant to some people, it is. For the average American, this sum is greater than their entire savings. According to a 2017 GoBankingRates survey, 69 percent of Americans have less than $5,000 in savings. So, for almost 70 percent of the country, a veterinary bill of $5,000 is financially crippling.

An employee benefit, such as pet insurance, can help reduce the financial risk tied to owning a pet. And reducing this financial risk helps your staff avoid financial stress, which can wreak havoc on an employee’s productivity. A 2017 Mercer survey discovered employers lose up to $250 billion a year due to financial stress.

 

The Wrap

Creating a pet-friendly environment doesn’t have to mean there will be a petting zoo in your office every day. Rather, it’s about implementing a policy, and employee benefits, that align with and support employees who own pets. These creatures are a crucial part of your workers’ lives. Treat them as such, and your business will reap the rewards.

is pet insurance worth it?

Is Pet Insurance Worth it For Your Employees?

Happiness, according to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, is a warm puppy. And while you may not agree with Charlie Brown himself, many Americans do. The 2017-18 National Pet Owners Survey concluded 68 percent of American households own at least one pet. In total, 84.6 million U.S. homes have a pet.

Last year these 84.6 million homes spent a combined $17.07 billion on veterinary care alone. Every six seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill of $5,000 or more. This amount of money may not seem significant to some people.

But to the average American, this sum is more significant than their entire savings. According to a 2017 GoBankingRates survey, 69 percent of Americans have less than $5,000 in savings. For all these people, a $5,000 veterinary bill would be financially crippling.

And financial stress can wreak havoc on an employee’s productivity. A 2017 Mercer survey found employers lose up to $250 billion a year due to financial stress. So, while it may seem like pet insurance is a frivolous benefit, there’s reason to believe the opposite. This benefit can work to reduce employees’ financial stress thereby adding to your bottom line.

 

Pet Insurance – Defined

Pet insurance is medical insurance, for pets. Simple enough, right? If your pet has an accident, illness, or injury and needs veterinary care, pet insurance helps cover some or all of the costs of treatment. It’s important to note that most pet insurance policies don’t include coverage for routine care and exams.

man hugging dog

But pet insurance, like other forms of insurance, is becoming more customizable. Pet owners can now choose between different deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximums that best fit their needs. Similarly, pet owners can choose between plans that cover accident and illness, and accident-only.

A few providers do offer routine wellness care coverage. Routine wellness can include annual exams, flea and tick treatments, and vaccinations. Though it’s worth reiterating most plans are accident and illness or accident-only.

Premiums usually cost between $10 to $100 a month. Premiums for dogs are typically more expensive than those for cats. The average cost of coverage for dog’s ranges from $30-$150 a month. Conversely, coverage for cats is typically between $10-$50 a month.

There are a few fundamental differences between insurance for man and man’s best friend. The first difference is that a vast majority of pet insurance plans do not have an in-network provider. Pet owners can then choose any veterinary they want, or what’s closest, without having to worry about paying an out-of-network charge.

guinea pigs

The second key difference is that a majority of pet insurance policies rely on a system of reimbursement. This system means pet owners will still have to save cash for costly procedures, even if their pet is covered.

After paying for treatment, the pet owner files a claim and is reimbursed after that claim is approved. So, pet owners with pet insurance will still need to save money in case their furry friends experience a medical emergency.

 

No Longer a Niche

This year the North American Pet Health Insurance Association announced the industry has officially grown to a $1 billion industry. Also, in 2017, the total number of pets insured in the U.S. and Canada reached over 2 million. This total is a 17 percent increase from the previous year.

These numbers demonstrate the reach of pet insurance. This industry has grown precipitously throughout the past decade. And by all indications, the scope of pet insurance will only continue to advance.

 

How Pet Insurance Helps Your Business

There are four primary benefits pet insurance can offer your organization.

1. Recruitment

As previously discussed, pet insurance is no longer such a niche benefits offering. Still, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates that only nine percent of all businesses currently offer pet insurance. Including pet insurance as a voluntary benefit is a cheap way to separate yourself as a company.

petting a cat

Pet insurance can be an especially powerful recruiting tool for younger workers. The two youngest generations in the workforce, Millennials and Gen X, have the highest rates of pet ownership at 65 and 71 percent respectively.

In a recent survey from Skout, 58 percent of employees under the age of 30 said that dogs in the office make a business “a cool place to work for.” This number was three times the amount who said the same thing for a ping-pong or foosball table.

Employees want to work for a company that is pet-friendly. Sponsoring insurance for your workers’ furry pals is a way to demonstrate your pet-friendly environment.

 

2. Alignment

Workers want to feel as if their values align with company values. Not only do more people own pets, but more people also consider their pets family members. Over 95 percent of pet owners now consider their pets to be a part of their family.

a man and his dogs

Pet insurance shows your workers that you care about what they care about; their pets. This insurance covers employees’ pets and ensures these beloved creatures stay healthy. It is a voluntary benefit that aligns employee and company values.

 

3. Retention

Giving employees a benefit that protects their four-legged friends/family is an excellent way to keep employees. If a worker values their pet, and other potential employers don’t offer pet insurance, they are more likely to stay with your organization.

As previously mentioned, less than an estimated 10 percent of all companies provide this type of insurance. Any employee who has a pet they’re close with is much more likely to stay with your company if you protect their four-legged loved ones.

 

4. Productivity

Believe it or not, offering pet insurance can work to stave off decreases in productivity. This insurance can help your business by keeping employees less stressed, which can increase productivity.

Research from Towers Watson found that employees with high-stress levels have lower engagement and are less productive. In a 2007 survey, the American Psychological Association found that 73 percent of Americans cited money as a significant source of stress in their lives.

Conversely, 73 percent of pet owners admitted they would take on debt to pay for medical care for their pets. Pet insurance can save these employees from having to go into debt, and therefore protects them from a significant source of stress.

Keeping your employees less-stressed directly correlates to increased engagement, productivity, and decreased absenteeism.

 

The Wrap

Although it’s designed to protect animals with four legs (or no legs), pet insurance is really aimed at protecting the two-legged animals you employ. Help your employees avoid financial stress, protect what’s important to them, and safeguard your company’s bottom line. Pet insurance may seem insignificant to some, but for over 84 million households, it’s an invaluable benefit.

benefits of pet insurance

4 Practical Benefits of Pet Insurance for Your Business (Infographic)

“But what are the benefits of pet insurance?”

On its surface, pet insurance may seem easy to dismiss. Some think it is a niche employee benefit that only a few employees would actually take advantage of. Still, much like the runt of any litter, do not be so hasty to avoid pet insurance.

Currently, there are a large number of Americans who not only own pets but spend significant amounts of money on their care. A 2017-2018 survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found that 68 percent of American households now own at least one pet.

Furthermore, according to the APPA, Americans spent $15.42 billion dollars on veterinary care last year alone. Every six seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill of $3,000 or more.

 

What Does Pet Insurance Do?

Pet insurance protects your employees from these large charges and reduces any financial stress that may occur due to a hefty veterinary bill. Financial stress can have a huge impact on your company’s bottom line.

According to PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, employees are at the highest level of stress, due to finances, in five years. A Harris Poll conducted for Purchasing Power found that 80 percent of employees are under financial stress.

This stress has a negative impact on both employees and their employers. Stress costs businesses an average of $300 billion a year due to stress-related health care and missed work.

Pet insurance can safeguard your employees from the financial stress that results from pricey veterinary care. Additionally, pet insurance gives your company several benefits that strengthen your overall organization.

Here are the top four practical benefits of pet insurance for your business.

Benefits of Pet Insurance

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Learn more about pet insurance and its potential benefits to your company.

pet insurance

See Spot Run… To the Veterinarian (The Rise of Employer-Backed Pet Insurance)

$15.42 billion. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $15.42 billion dollars on veterinary care last year alone. Every six seconds a pet owner faces a vet bill of $3,000 or more.

This amount of spending, combined with the sheer number of pet owners (62 percent of Americans own at least one pet ) has continued the rise of employer-backed pet insurance.

Around 1/3 of Fortune 500 Companies now offer pet insurance as a benefit. Overall, the pet insurance industry has experienced accelerated growth. Over the past few years, the industry has grown 15 to 17% annually.

This increase is considerably more substantial than the 3 to 4 percent growth rates in the home and auto insurance industries, over the same time frame. Any company can join in on one of the hottest trends in the benefits industry and reap significant rewards from offering your employees pet insurance. Will yours?

 

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is medical insurance, for pets. Simple enough, right? If your pet has an accident, illness, or injury and needs veterinary care, pet insurance helps cover some or all of the cost of treatment.

Pet insurance, like other forms of insurance, is becoming more customizable. Pet owners can now choose between different deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximums that best fit their needs. Premiums cost between $10 to $100 a month. Basic plans usually range from $30 to $50 a month.

There are a few fundamental differences between insurance for man and man’s best friend. The first difference is that a vast majority of pet insurance plans do not have an in-network provider. Pet owners can then choose any veterinary they want, or what’s closest, without having to worry about paying an out-of-network charge.

theme-candid-portraits-smile-woman-girl-40064

The second key difference is that pet insurance subsists on a system of reimbursement. This system means that pet owners will still have to save cash for costly procedures, even if their pet is covered.

After paying for treatment the pet owner files a claim and is reimbursed after that claim is approved. So, pet owners with pet insurance will still need to save money in case their furry friends experience a medical emergency.

 

How does pet insurance help our business?

There are four primary benefits pet insurance can offer your organization.

1. Recruitment

Providing pet insurance as a benefit helps to set your company apart from your competition. SHRM estimates that only nine percent of all businesses currently offer pet insurance. Offering pet insurance as a voluntary benefit is a cheap way to separate yourself as a company.

Pet insurance can be an especially powerful recruiting tool for younger workers. The two youngest generations in the workforce, Millennials and Gen X, have the highest rates of pet ownership at 65 and 71 percent respectively.

In a recent survey from Skout, 58 percent of employees under the age of 30 said that dogs in the office make a business “a cool place to work for.” This number was three times the amount who said the same thing for a ping pong or foosball table.recruiting

Employees want to work for a company that is pet-friendly. Sponsoring insurance for your workers’ furry pals, is a good way demonstrate your pet-friendly environment.

 

2. Alignment

Workers want to feel as if their values align with company values. Not only are more people owning pets, more people also consider their pets family members. Over 95 percent of pet owners now consider their pets to be a part of their family.

Pet insurance shows your workers that you care about what they care about; their pets. This insurance covers employees pets and ensures these beloved creatures stay healthy. It is a voluntary benefit that aligns employee and company values.

 

3. Retention

Giving employees a benefit that protects their four-legged friends/family is an excellent way to keep employees. If a worker values their pet, and other potential employers don’t offer pet insurance, they are more likely to stay with your organization.

As previously mentioned, less than an estimated 10 percent of all companies provide this type of insurance. Any employee who has a pet they’re close with is much more likely to stay with your company if you protect their four-legged loved ones.

 

4. Productivity

Believe it or not, offering pet insurance can work to stave off decreases in productivity. This insurance can help your business by keeping employees less stressed, which can increase productivity.

employee alignment

Research from Towers Watson found that employees with high-stress levels have lower engagement and are less productive. In a 2007 survey, the American Psychological Association found that 73 percent of Americans cited money as a significant source of stress in their lives.

Conversely, 73 percent of pet owners admitted they would take on debt to pay for medical care for their pets. Pet insurance can save these employees from having to go into debt, and therefore saves them from a significant source of stress.

Keeping your employees less-stressed directly correlates to increased engagement, productivity, and decreased absenteeism.

 

The Wrap

Pet insurance is rising for a reason. It helps your organization to better recruit and retain workers. It also offers increased employee alignment, productivity, and satisfaction.

So if you see Spot running, don’t chase him. He’s not running away; he’s running to get insured.