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Paws for thought...

By Sarah Wixon

I have to confess that until I read the article below, I'd not given the idea of compassionate leave following the death of a pet a great deal of thought. 

Not because I'm callous or don't care - it just simply hasn't entered my mind that time off wouldn't be given to someone that has suffered a loss. I've had pet bereavements personally - when my dog had to sadly be put to sleep a few years ago, it didn't occur to me that I might have to get into work that day - I called in, explained and spent the day in tears at home while I started to come to terms with it. The thought that in some jobs I would have had to go pretty much straight from the vets to the workplace is almost unthinkable.

Yet it seems that there are employers out there who would indeed expect this - even demand it.

Don't get me wrong - there has to be a level of common sense applied and I'm not certain the loss of a goldfish - however fondly cherished - is quite a qualification for time off for bereavement, but I do like the idea of having basic principles applied for employees in terms of granting compassionate leave, whatever they might need it for which could be paid or unpaid dependent on business policy.

After all, isn't it the case that we all want places of work where our staff are happy, motivated and consequently productive? Having a distraught employee on the shop floor or in the office surely doesn't achieve those objectives. 

When a friend or relative of an employee dies, they are often encouraged by their employer to take off as much time as they need to come to terms with the grief. But, what happens when the death is a furry friend? While this question will undoubtedly spark debate among dog-lovers and animal enthusiasts, several HR issues are highlighted in cases like these including bereavement policies and whether pets should be included in this. A recent story outlining some of these issues has gone viral.

Read the original article here
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