human resources

Pawsonal leave: Why this beer company is giving its employees paid leave when they get a new puppy

Dominic Powell /

In the ruff world of business, one company is recognising its staff’s commitment to furry family members by allowing workers one week of paid leave if they get a new puppy.

Scottish beer brewing company BrewDog recently announced it is introducing “puppy parental leave” for its near 1000-strong workforce worldwide.

Read more: Manager causes 200 beer cans to be recalled and is named employee of the month for his efforts

“We know only too well that having a new arrival – whether a mewling pup or unsettled rescue dog – can be stressful for human and hound both,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“So we are becoming the first in our industry to give our staff a working week’s leave on us to help settle a new furry family member into their home.”

The company has always had a big focus on dogs: It was founded by “two employees plus one dog” and its offices have frequent canine visitors under a policy that allows employees to bring pets to work.

BrewDog says staff have been asking for the perk for “a while”, and its company headquarters in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has a total of 50 office dogs.

The business intends to launch a Columbus-based brewery in the US, and says it is not aware of any other American company that allows workers to take “pawternity leave”.

“Puppy Parental Leave will support nervy canines and their owners alike in those all-important first few days of the greatest relationship a person can have (children excepted),” the company says.

Response to the announcement has been overwhelmingly positive, with many taking to the website’s comments section to express their support.

“Two paws up for your paw-ternity leave policy. I look forward to trying your suds,” wrote one commenter.

However, some were concerned the policy may not extend to furry friends of the feline variety.

A doggone good idea

Director at WattsNext HR Ben Watts thinks the policy is “fantastic”, although he’d never heard of anything like it before. Despite that, Watts has been privy to a few unusual leave claims.

“I’ve seen a few sporting ones, like going to represent Australia in a certain sport,” Watts told SmartCompany

“The funniest one I’ve seen is one of our employee’s request leave to represent Australia in the medieval sword fighting championship, which was probably stretching the truth a little.”

“I ended up giving him the leave due to the creativity of the request.”

Watts says out of the ordinary leave requests are becoming more common, with another example being “sabbatical” situations like volunteering or spending time in an underdeveloped country.

“We’re seeing more and more companies allow leave in those scenarios,” he says.

Leniency with leave requests comes down to “the culture of your business” says Watts, and requests related to pets should always be considered.

“I’ve seen employees be granted leave for the death or illness of a pet. Empathy always needs to be factored into a decision,” he says.

“It’s always good to put yourself in your employee’s shoes, as it will be paid back in time with loyalty.”

As for puppy leave, Watts warns some issues could come up if employees want leave for different varieties of pets.

“Someone’s going to want leave for their baby piglet, or their new goldfish, which could be a stretch,” he says.

“Dogs are obviously a big part of that business, so it’s a different scenario.”

All in all, Watts believes a promotion of supportive leave policies is an excellent way for businesses to promote their company culture.

“It’s a great way to show you’re a little bit different and you care about your employees,” he says.

“People get sick of the same old things, time off packages and the like. This is a smart way to advertise your culture and show the sharing nature of the business.”

Watch BrewDog’s pup-filled announcement video below.

Puppy Parental Leave from BrewDog on Vimeo.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany. Email him at [email protected].