Compassionate leave | Worker sacked over dead dog debacle

Worker sacked over dead dog debacle

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.

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Comments (14)

  • BradleyGas
    BradleyGas
    Fri, 16 Aug 2019 2:19pm BST
    I think the idea of using annual holiday is sensible, if there's none left, then unpaid leave. Giving days to grieve for a pet may sound compassionate - and is - but where would it end? Days off for various relatives, close friends. And, it would be open to serious abuse.
  • Sir
    Sir
    Thu, 15 Aug 2019 9:50pm BST
    I am dismayed that reactions have been to the notion that employees, distraught following a pet bereavement, are being "forced to work" (or would be, given my views on the matter). My suggestion was that paid time away from work could be covered by annual leave.
    I would also consider that annual leave is not simply or uniquely for "holidays and a happy time" - is exists to enable employees to take time away from work (ie fulfilling their contract) without loss of earnings.
    If you added up all the leave suggested by HR professionals - pet bereavement leave, 'pawternity' leave, PMT leave, grandparent leave and so on - some 'employees' would scarcely darken the door from one month to the next.
    Think of that next time you call for an ambulance. One will arrive to look after you because the employees (paramedics or whoever) actually showed up for work that day !
  • Quentin Lillis
    Quentin Lillis
    Thu, 15 Aug 2019 3:25pm BST
    In response to the comments of SIR: the fact that people are occasionally unfit for work is not because "HR" want them to, or are helping them to take time off; it is because they are just simply not fit. I do appreciate that under pressure to perform some management just seem to forget that the best productivity comes from fit, mentally well, willing people and not those who feel the fear of a coercive, disapproving, or uncaring culture. Being compassionate is just taking a pragmatic approach. Let's assume that you are some kind of workplace leader, with responsibility for operations and profitability; would you honestly rather have a team of high attending, but often sub-optimally performing people? Or wouldn't you really prefer to work with people who are present in mind and body and who actually enjoy working for you because you are compassionate and reasonable? Before you decide I'm naive: I have been managing people as a line manager since 1980 in blue collar and professional occupations, I have held senior HR responsibility for up to 10,000 people. I'm also a self employed business person.
  • clkgeeklogin
    clkgeeklogin
    Thu, 15 Aug 2019 3:12pm BST
    There is a common sense approach but where do we draw the line? We draw a line on human beings - usually a close relative is covered by compassionate leave but not other relatives. Unpaid time off, annual leave or sick leave are there to be used if necessary. If you are unfit to work then there are options to accommodate this.
  • MM
    MM
    Thu, 15 Aug 2019 2:39pm BST
    I think it's important to appreciate that not everyone chooses to have children and pets may be all the family people have. Everyone's cases are different and that is what makes HR. To make our employees feel valued is to be understanding and compassionate if they do lose a pet and not expect them to take annual leave! It is definitely not a holiday or a happy time. As a pet owner I know the pain of losing a pet and it was as painful as losing a family member.

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