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“Paw-ternity” leave? Have employee benefits jumped the shark?

September 27, 2017

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

In the US employers are trying to stay competitive with basic or extended maternity leave, and more progressive employers now offer paternity leave as well.  But a business in Scotland is now offering “paw-ternity” leave for new pet owners.

BrewDog, a Scottish brewery, now offers all 1,000 of their employees one week paid “paw-ternity” leave for new dog owners.  James Watt, BrewDog co-founder, stated, “It’s not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home. So we wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family. We always want to raise the bar when it comes to offering our staff the best possible benefits. At BrewDog, we care about two things above all else: People and beer. We also just really, really like dogs.”  In their effort to be a top notch employer, they also offer both maternity and paternity leave for new parents – to humans. 
While “paw-ternity” leave might be bit far-fetched for most employers, this does drive home the point that employers are going to extreme lengths to attract and retain employees.  But how far is too far?  Here are some other crazy perks, promises, and benefits being offered by some employers:

  • A personal assistant for every employee
  • “Celebrity clad trips to the Hamptons in the summertime”
  • Onsite workout classes
  • Free tickets and transportation to shows at local arena
  • Free mechanical bull rides at the bar across the street
  • “Board game nights, movie field trips, and murder mystery parties!”
  • Free season passes to local ski resort
  • “All the snacks you can carry”
  • Catered lunches throughout the week
  • Fridge stocked with snacks
  • Free beer on Fridays
  • Pet insurance
  • Two hours of free housecleaning services a month
  • Bring your dog to work
  • “We promise not to poke you with a sharp stick.”
  • Unlimited usage of the company Ping-Pong table
  • RV rental discounts
  • High-fives galore
  • Professional development stipends

On a more serious note, some perks and benefits becoming a bit more mainstream include unlimited vacation time, 100% healthcare premium coverage, onsite childcare, volunteer hours, flexible hours, exercise at work, and student loan pay-off.

The war for talent has companies striving to set themselves apart from the rest.  And for good reason – according to a recent report from Virgin Pulse, 77% of millennials said culture is just as or more important to them than salary and benefits.  In addition, 30% of millennials surveyed by Aon Hewitt said they’d like to see their office atmosphere become more “fun.”  

The blending of work and life continues to grow, and employers of choice are making noticeable efforts to help employees bring their life into the office.

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