Should employers consider pet-bereavement leaves for their employees?

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A majority of pet owners dearly love their pets. They regard their four-legged companions as family members. A number of companies have begun to recognize-via extended leaves-that the grief suffered by a person when he or she loses a pet is equal to the death of a family member. Many corporates regard their employee’s pet to be a member of the employee family and take into consideration when granting leaves. Flexibility is given to employees who apply leaves stating the reason for leave as the death of their pets.

Changing the definition of family

Government companies continue to exclude pets from family definitions. There is a distinct possibility that both federal and state governments could change such a policy. Increasingly, there is a movement to reclassify animals as a kind of “sentient beings” from the present “chattels”. A few government departments have started to move towards the new definition. There is more than an even chance that a pet could be considered a member of the family even by public concerns within a few years. A few states have recognized animals to be sentient and possessing biological needs. The new system pushes humans to undertake a collective responsibility to make sure that animals are well fed and cared for. The development represents a human evolution in a positive manner.

Classifying pets as families have an unexpected benefit. This policy attracts and retains better employees. Organizations now recognize this in greater numbers and they soon align the procedures and policies to reflect greater empathy for pets. Company procedures and policies are now being enforced in a different manner.

Expanded definitions

Animals are now regarded as an immediate family member and being included under the bereavement leave benefits. The definition of family is now being changed. The legislation is now being edited to be non-discriminatory towards best-loved pets. The definition of family is now being broadened.

It is to be understood that if any organization takes the decision to expand the scope of bereavement leave so to include pets, then there should be no change in the way the benefit will be enforced. The employee should not be asked to provide proof of the pet’s passing. The employee must inform the employer of the pet’s death before taking the leave. If the employer is concerned about the employee falsifying records and abusing benefits from pet leaves, then new policies should be enacted to counter them. Companies must take into account the manner the entire workforce will be affected by these new policies. People who have no pets may take advantage of this new policies and apply for fraudulent leaves. Employers must be tactful about communication as a genuinely sad employee could be hurt by the use of harsh language originally created for reining in the dishonest ones.

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