Great Debate: Should workers get time off when a pet passes away?

Should workers get time off work when a pet dies?

Pets are part of the family. We see proof of this every day – think of the Ukrainian refugees carrying their pets with them to safety, for one. They are invaluable companions, providing important social support to their families; when a pet dies, it’s always devastating.

Grief over the loss of a pet has probably been with humanity ever since we first domesticated them. We have found graves with heartfelt inscriptions for deceased dogs from ancient Greek and Roman times; not far from the Dogs Today offices an old pet cemetery is testament to that love, with pets being put to rest there as far back as the 1930s.

It’s fair to say the death of a pet is not something you immediately bounce back from, and some are wondering – should people be given some time off work when a pet dies?


While the request may not be taken seriously as it would be when a family member dies, some feel that giving beveared owners some time to grieve without having to worry about their finances for missing a few days’ pay is the compassionate thing to do.

“I was not allowed any time off when my dog – who’d been my rock after a miscarriage and later divorce – died,” a Dogs Today reader recalls. “I couldn’t afford going even one day without pay and had no vacation time left, so I had to go to work the following day. I was in absolute bits, in no way fit to work, and broke down crying at my desk. It would have been best for everyone if I had been allowed a couple of days to try and come to terms with the loss.”

Others don’t feel the loss warrants days off work, however painful. Law does not mandate paid time off for the death of human family members in the first place, they say, and it’s unlikely to ever happen for pets. Besides, it may become an easy way to get time off work – anyone can pretend that their pet died, they argue.

What do you think – should workers get time off when a pet passes away? 

Let us know what you think here, on Facebook, or by writing to with “Great Debate” in the subject line.


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