POSTED: August 09 2022
How to approach ‘pet bereavement’
Alison Gill, advo HR Manager gives her thoughts

Pet Bereavement & HR

Some thoughts from Alison Gill, advo’s HR Manager (Clients)

Having worked in HR in various industries and with employees at every level and from every background, I have heard numerous reasons why individuals would like time off work.  However, being a devoted animal lover, I do totally empathise how employees may feel when their constant canine companion passes away. I lived alone and remember how I felt when my 10 year old labradoodle, Harry unexpectedly died. My best friend had gone, the house was empty and I was bereft for weeks!

So, the recent post on Reddits forum peaked my interest as an employee’s boss told her that the death of her dog wasn’t the best reason to take time off at short notice.  This approach resulted in the employee handing in her notice.

We appreciate that such expected time off may be disruptive to your business and, in my experience, such reaction by the employer as detailed in the case is rare.

In recent years, especially during COVID, there are more and more pet owners and I can personally vouch that your dog is part of your family and when they are no longer around there are feelings of grief. Indeed, employees may feel upset for a long period of time. Such emotional attachment can affect an individual’s metal health and, indeed, affect their performance at work

So, if one of your employees tells you that their family pet has passed away, we would always recommend taking an empathetic approach, supporting your employees and agreeing to time off. Don’t forget that there may be many pet owners within your team and if you aren’t sympathetic to one employee, this may not place you in a very good light with others.

Please also be aware that if you have an Employee Assistance Programme in place, they can offer grief counselling which would include the death of a pet.