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Bereavement Leave for Pets

(63 Posts)
Bordersgirl57 Thu 15-Aug-19 10:33:05

Well obviously not for the animals but for their owners!

I had Radio Scotland on this morning and the phone in was about a girl who was campaigning to have a legal right to take leave when her dog died. She had been sacked for being off. Now whatever the ins and outs of her case (employed less than two years, employer may have been looking for an excuse etc).

I was surprised at the number of people who were really adamant that it should be a right and enshrined in law. I have always had dogs and am devastated when one goes but I'm not sure I would have expected to be given time off work. If I had turned up at hospital for my hip replacement to be told the surgeon had taken time off because his dog had died I might have been less than thrilled or waited 3 weeks for a gp appointment only to find it was cancelled because their dog had died.

I wonder if it's that there is less of a realistic view of the circle of life and lack of thought before the pet is acquired. Perhaps each case on its merits but a blanket approach enshrined in law seems over the top. What do you think?

GrandmaMoira Thu 15-Aug-19 10:41:25

Surely if people are very upset at the death of their pet they can ask for annual leave? I have seen colleagues going to work whilst very upset at the death of their dog and thought it was probably helpful to them that people are so sympathetic and offering condolences.
I don't think it is a legal right to have paid leave for bereavement of a spouse or other close family so surely not for a pet.

RosieLeah Thu 15-Aug-19 10:44:54

Yes, it does seem a bit unreasonable. I have had loads of pets so I know the devastation when they die but, quite frankly, keeping busy is a good way to deal with it. Sitting brooding doesn't help. The pain of grief wears off in its own time.

MissAdventure Thu 15-Aug-19 10:47:46

What kind of pet though?
A faithful old dog?
A stick insect?

I think its just ridiculous in that its almost impossible to do fairly.

GabriellaG54 Fri 16-Aug-19 02:32:06

I read the article in MailOnline.

I do know that some people have pets for many years, usually cats and dogs and they become part of their family and I don't think it's wrong to ask for the day off, especially if they had no idea the dog was on it's last legs on that morning.
I do think her boss was right to ask her to find a replacement but wrong to sack her.
It depends on the length of time she had worked there and if her attendance had been regular and work of a decent standard.

crystaltipps Fri 16-Aug-19 07:08:12

Well if you have to take said animal to the vet as a mercy mission then you might have to miss a morning, but just to take bereavement leave, no- most colleagues will be sympathetic and it’s not as if you have to arrange a funeral or deal with insurance companies. I had to miss work to take my old cat to the vet when she had a stroke, but she was dead by the time we got there. I was upset but went into work late and when I explained why everyone was very understanding and I got lots of hugs. Better than being home alone and miserable.

Calendargirl Fri 16-Aug-19 07:17:26

We live in changing times, but bereavement leave for pets?
My father died completely unexpectedly when I was 19. It was a Sunday. I went in to work the next day, I had phoned my manager with the news the day before. I was not expected to go in, but my mother had my sister with her, and I felt it was the best thing to do. I worked in a bank, and served on the counter all day. I took the next two days off, the funeral was on the Wednesday, (no long wait as nowadays) then back to work as normal.
I know everyone is different, but feel that to try and carry on is sometimes the best way.
I loved my dad dearly, and felt he would have wanted me to be strong,

PamelaJ1 Fri 16-Aug-19 07:35:30

We are all very different aren’t we.
I think I must be very tough. I just don’t understand how wallowing in grief can be helpful and make anyone feel better.
I am better when I have something to do. Something else to focus on.
Still, I suppose if you are so prostrated with grief and of no use to your employer then take a day of your annual leave.
If any of my staff was absent unexpectedly it made life very hard for the rest of us.

BlueBelle Fri 16-Aug-19 08:01:21

What an absolute nonsense what next I broke my best cup I need a day off work
Good lord give us strength

seacliff Fri 16-Aug-19 08:23:16

I absolutely love my cats, and am very upset when one dies. If it happened suddenly (one young one was run over) I might feel I couldn't face working that day. So I would ring in and book a late days holiday.

The idea of having bereavement leave is ridiculous.

GagaJo Fri 16-Aug-19 08:28:41

I've had 2 colleagues take time off with pets. Others were very scathing but I sympathised. If you love your animals, you may well not feel up to working. Although, as others have said, being at work takes your mind off it.

MawB Fri 16-Aug-19 08:32:09

Mixed feelings on this.
The only animal I lost while I had a job was my lovely brindle greyhound some years ago, who ran in from the garden early one morning, slid to the floor, gasped for breath and died in my arms.
To say I was shocked would have been an understatement.
I had to wait until the vets opened for them to send a nurse to collect her and until she had gone I was in no fit state to face classes of teenagers.
Fortunately the school secretary and the Head were dog lovers - or perhaps just understanding people - and when I rang in first thing were extremely sympathetic, saying to come in later that day when I felt ready.
So once my dog had been taken away, I felt able to face the rest of the day and it helped to take my mind off the shock.
Understanding employers- respected staff - there has to be flexibility but on a personal and mutually responsible basis.

sodapop Fri 16-Aug-19 08:34:42

I love my dogs dearly but I also would feel a responsibility to my colleagues and people who need me. I think this is a step too far personally.

MissA grin

sodapop Fri 16-Aug-19 08:37:06

That must have been hard Maw but a different thing from bereavement leave I think.

MawB Fri 16-Aug-19 09:04:52

That’s what I mean about flexibility - discretionary but clearly not statutory - or where do you draw the line.

Grannybags Fri 16-Aug-19 09:33:29

I agree with Miss A Would people would be having time off for gold fish, snakes etc?

A step too far I think

Harris27 Fri 16-Aug-19 09:45:56

I work with a girl who constantly takes time off. She took a week off before her dog died saying she was too upset to work. ( was told the dog didnt have long) she then spent the days after the dog died visiting family and going out for lunch just to take her mind of it!

KatyK Fri 16-Aug-19 10:03:34

We've never had pets. I'm not a pet person and would normally have said that this idea is ridiculous. However, my sister had a cat which she took in as he was abandoned as a kitten. My sister lived alone and this cat was her companion. When he died aged about 15, she was distraught and couldn't go to work for several days. I really felt for her.

MandyRaff Fri 16-Aug-19 10:39:54

When my chihuahua was hit by a car outside our house and killed instantly I was devastated. Especially as I had let him out for a wee. Fortunately I had the next day booked off as annual leave anyway but I definitely would not have been able to go to work had that not been the case. As someone else mentioned it isn't actually law that you can have bereavement leave for a member of your family although they are trying to legalise bereavement leave for the loss of a child. I do sympathise with anyone who has lost a beloved pet though.

vickymeldrew Fri 16-Aug-19 10:42:34

As an animal lover I would say the death of a pet is devastating. However, to think that I would need paid time off from my job to cope with it is ridiculous. Someone along the line is paying for all this snowflake behaviour. A job is a privilege not a right. Take annual leave if you feel the need.

Sheilasue Fri 16-Aug-19 10:49:23

Having lost two dogs years ago it was devastating but going to work helped me as being busy kept mind off it till I went home and they weren’t there.

Barmeyoldbat Fri 16-Aug-19 10:49:50

My lovely old cat got kicked around like a football by some local thugs and taken to the local vets by some kind person passing by. I rang my office in the morning, in tears saying I would be late in as I was needed at the vets. My manager told meh not to come in and take the time off as sick leave. I had just the one day off and found that work helped me take my mind away from what had happened.

I just depends I think on the circumstances and the pet.

maddyone Fri 16-Aug-19 10:50:54


‘A stick insect’ 🤣🤣🤣🤣

4allweknow Fri 16-Aug-19 11:00:06

We will be asking for leave when we have to watch a favourite chair or pair of shoes go to the skip before long. Having had many family pets cats and dogs I know how bereft you can feel when they die. The emptiness in the house, change of routine but I would never equate ut to the loss of a human and wiukd never expect to be given bereavement leave. In fact, I found my colleagues to be understanding and their company was comforting. That girl who raised the issue seems very immature not to realise and accept pets do not live as ling as we do usually and they do die.

maddyone Fri 16-Aug-19 11:05:12

Actually it is a topic worth addressing. We’ve had three cats during our marriage, plus numerous guinea pigs and rabbits. We’ve loved them all, but particularly the cats as they lived in the house with us. When the cats died, each time it was difficult, but I went to work the next day. My children were upset when the guinea pigs/rabbits died, but they went to school the next day.

Our last cat died a few weeks ago, he was put to sleep as he was old and ill. I miss him dreadfully, but had I still been working, I would have gone to work the next day. If a person is so upset that they cannot perform their work properly, especially if working with the public, then maybe that person should take one day sick leave. Other than that, they need to get a grip and work. After all, work is a distraction.

There are still jobs where it is difficult to get time off when a close family member dies. Teachers are allowed three days for the death of a close family member (teachers terms and conditions of service.) Imagine, three days for the death of your spouse or child. Three days for the death of a parent or sibling. No time off for any other person, related or not. Thankfully some headteachers are more enlightened and allow more time off, or time off for a less close relative ie PiL, SiL, DiL, cousin, aunt, uncle etc.