Australia’s largest bank is set to offer two days paid leave annually for ‘pet bereavement leave’ in the event of the passing away of a pet.
Revealed by an anonymous employee to The Aussie Corporate, messages revealed that Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) already grants two days off annually for pet-related emergencies.
The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) allows workers to claim compassionate leave in the event of an immediate family member passing away but doesn’t include any reference to family pets in their labour rights guidelines.
A 2022 study by Mars Petcare found that 67 per cent of Australian pet owners believe their employer would decline them sick or personal leave to care for their unwell pet.
Demand for workplace initiatives that put Australian pets first are increasingly on the rise. Employees are calling for their employers to progress their policies to align with their needs, with 72 per cent insisting they would want Pet Care Leave to be included in their employee leave benefits.
Mars Petcare has partnered with veterinarians around Australia in developing a ‘Pet Care Leave’ certificate for Australian employees.
Sophie Anning, Corporate Affairs Director at Mars Petcare, said that now is the time to make a nationwide change and give pet owners the opportunity to care for their four-legged family members.
“We know Australian pet owners are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of their animals, which is why Mars Petcare is actively advocating for employers and businesses to align their policies with the needs of pet owners.”
Highlighting the immense care Australians have for their pets’ wellbeing, the survey found 98 per cent of pet parents would consider their pets to be a member of their family. And, while nearly all (96 per cent) parents said they would feel comfortable requesting time off to care for their sick child, this figure dropped by a third (to 63 per cent) when it came to asking an employer for leave to care for a sick pet.
The Pet Care Leave certificate acts not only as clinical evidence that a person needs a day off to care for their unwell pet, but as a call to action for Australian businesses to support and implement new pet welfare leave policies.
Pet owners, veterinarians and businesses can access the Pet Care Leave certificate at petcareleave.com.au.