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Should Your Firm Offer 'Paw-ternity Leave'?

Neighbors out for a walk
By George Khoury, Esq. on October 22, 2018 | Last updated on April 29, 2019

If you've never heard of paw-ternity leave, then it's a good thing you're seeing this. It's a new trend, and if you're not on-board, you can expect to be branded as a dog hating monster.

Basically, it's like parental, paternity, or maternity leave, except instead of it triggering when an employee welcomes a new human being into their family, it triggers upon employees getting a dog, which for some folks is pretty darn close to the same thing. But, for some, including Above the Law writer, and alleged "pet owner," Elie Mystal, paw-ternity leave is a laughable concept not meant for adults.

Go Ahead, Be Happy

Newsflash: You are positively allowed to be happy. Yes, even if you are a lawyer. No bones about it. And other people being happy around you should not cause you to be unhappy. In fact, if others around you are happy, it should help you feel happy too.

Paw-ternity leave is something that will surely make people happy, like Instagram accounts focused on the lives of dogs. Generally, pets are really good for people's mental health. If an employee doesn't have a pet, it's probably worth it to give them a few days or a week off to welcome a new pet into the family. Heck, you can even demand that for each day of paw-ternity leave, the employee send three cute pet pictures via firm-wide emails. After all, healthy, happy employees will make more money for the business.

Unnecessary Cuteness?

Sure, the whole concept of paw-ternity leave sounds incredibly silly, but there's more to it. As Mr. Mystal points out, adults should be able to handle their own schedules and vacation time and plan accordingly. However, he seems to ignore the fact that getting a dog, for many people, is a significant life and family event, and if an employer doesn't respect that via a paw-ternity policy that ensures a person will be able to get time off for that significant event, then that employee might consider taking their talents somewhere that does.

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