Monday, February 20, 2017

Paw-ternity leave is a great idea, but please don’t forget about us humans

This is Loula, our vizsla.

We love our dog. And, when we brought her home four summers ago, it was a great benefit to our family that my wife had yet to return to work. She was home for Loula’s first two months, to acclimate her to our house and family. What if, however, you lack the luxury of not working during your puppy’s first few weeks at home?

BrewDog, a Scottish brewery set to open up in Columbus this Spring, has your answer—paw-ternity leave.

From USA Today:
A newborn puppy can be a full-time job, that’s why beer maker BrewDog … now offers a week of paid leave for employees with new puppies or rescued dogs. 
The company said it’s the first company in the United States … to offer the “paw-ternity” benefit. 
BrewDog, in an announcement made earlier this week, said the benefit will be offered to all of its nearly 1,000 employees across the world. 

Make no mistake, this is a generous benefit for employees, and will go a long way to help BrewDog hire and recruit employees. And, for its part, BrewDog says it also has “enhanced paternity and maternity pay.”

However, before you consider adopting benefits for your four-legged friends, please make sure your two-legged employees are taken of.

As a nation we lag so far behind the rest of the world on paid family leave it’s embarrassing. Yes, some companies have adopted paid leave policies for their employees, and the Department of Labor has started mandating it for some federal contractors. By and large, however, the United States of America, the world’s greatest economy, stinks at providing for employees when it comes to paid-time-off from work for medical reasons.

It’s bad enough that our European allies such as Germany. France, Sweden run laps around us with their paid leave laws.

When we are getting trounced by nations like Mongolia, Iran, and Afghanistan, our leave policies are indefensible.

The United States remains the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee working mothers paid time off after childbirth, and we lag behind most of the rest of world on other paid family leave. Frankly, it’s embarrassing, and it’s high time we joined the rest of the civilized (and, apparently, less than civilized) world on what appears for everyone else to be a non-controversial issue.

Paw-ternity leave is a cute idea, and, yes, it will help BrewDog recruit and retain talented employees. But, before we start thinking outside of the box on employee benefits, let’s jump inside the paid-family-leave box that the rest of the world has already figured out. Even President Trump agrees.