Pet owners across the country can now take bereavement leave not just when a relative dies, but when their animal companions pass.
Although pet bereavement days are not part of the federal or state employment guidelines, several companies are now granting mourning pet-owners to take time off to heal.
Nearly 1 in 3 people feel grief that lasts for six months after the death of their beloved pet, according to a 2009 research study of pet owners in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, and about 20 percent experience it with the same shocking intensity as a death of a person.
The loss of a long-time companion can be a big blow but often pet owners don’t ask for time off because of fear of ridicule from staff. Others fear backlash from employees who perceive pet bereavement policies as too permissive or slack.
Coworkers who do not have pets of their own often assume that pet owners will be able to quickly get over their loss and unwittingly disdain their feeling by offering them insensitive advise like, “Just get another animal” or “You should move on.”
For Trupanion, a pet insurance firm, it is natural to allow staff a one-day mourning period if their pet dies.
“We allow people to actually do that grieving process and just be able to heal. I think you need closure when you lose a pet, and it's important to have the time to do that,” Dani Kahn, a pet coordinator at Trupanion, stated.
However, other companies like Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant, the largest boutique hotel chain stores in the United States, and Mars Inc., the candy giant, are now getting on board with this idea as well and grant employees three days as well as flexible hours and work from home options.
Sometimes mingling with people who have lost their pets or even employees who sympathize with one’s trauma can be therapeutic.
Rich Lang, a senior vice-president of VMWare, a Californian software firm said he found it helpful every time he came in to work at his canine-friendly company and talked about his dog with the “people I knew who cared.”
Some people claim getting a new pet after a month also helps in coping with the loss.
A new pet doesn't replace, but helps heal #petbereavement— Denise Stammers (@Denise_1963) February 26, 2016