Worker's Request for 'Pawternity Leave' to Look After New Puppy Sparks Debate

A CEO has sparked a major debate among fellow bosses and employees after revealing one of his workers requested paid leave to look after a new puppy.

While Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's decision to take paternity leave has drawn criticism from commentators like Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson, over in the U.K. a very different discussion over paid leave has been taking place.

It all started when entrepreneur Roger Wade took to LinkedIn to ask his fellow users for their opinion on a delicate matter.

"One of my staff has asked for paternity leave because he has a new puppy," he wrote. "What do you think?"

Wade, who is the CEO and founder of Boxpark, a company operating multiple pop-up food and hospitality event spaces in London, was inundated with responses to his query, which was posted alongside a poll.

At the time of writing, the post had garnered over 2,000 comments with more than 34,000 users voting either for or against the idea of "pawternity leave."

Plenty spoke up in favor of the idea.

Georgie Murray, a communications & PR manager, wrote that she has endured four weeks of "sleepless nights, cleaning up messes and running around after pup whilst trying to hold down a full-time job.

"I would have loved a couple of weeks off, or even just a few days to catch up on sleep to be able to do my job to the best of my abilities and settle my new family member in."

Sarah Stoughton, an account manager, offered another perspective on the debate.

"Some people are not fortunate enough to be able to have children and having a dog is their fur baby and new addition to the family. Puppies also need love and support in their early days just like a baby," she said.

"If taking a few weeks for Pupternity/Pawternity is something that is going to help that person mentally to then be more productive moving forward then surely this can only be a good thing?"

Not everyone was quite so sold on the idea though.

"The world has officially gone mad," company director Steve Horton responded. "This is an underlying issue with society, the fact that people feel entitled to everything."

He continued: "How about not have a dog as your work situation does not allow it. It's not your employer's issue or responsibility. If you feel that burning desire to get a dog, change your circumstances to allow it."

Company partner and manager Dev Somnath Pillai highlighted what he saw as an "obvious drawback" to pawternity leave.

"If only half of your workforce owns pets, that means the other half doesn't own pets and therefore won't qualify for the extra time off or flexibility to work from home," he explained.

Learning and development specialist Stacey Webb, countered those arguments though, explaining that it is "about people and life events."

"If someone needs to do something to take care of themselves, a family member, a pet- I want to be able to support colleagues," she wrote.

Risk management consultant Steve Gibbons saw things differently though.

"Some of us with multiple kids can't always make every appointment, every Sports day or Parent's evening. Because? Work pays the bills," he said.

"So, if you honestly believe that your Employer should cover you for 2 weeks paid leave because you CHOSE to purchase an animal, you might want to consider getting a grip."

While strong arguments were presented by both sides, the majority were opposed to the idea of "pawternity leave," with 61 percent voting against the idea of giving someone time off to look after a puppy.

Wade has since returned to the comment thread to confirm that a compromise was eventually reached, whereby the employee will work from home and continue to look after the young dog, who has been named Bailey. He described the compromise as a "win-win" for both sides.

Newsweek has contacted Wade for comment.

A man holding up his dog.
Stock image of a man working at a desk with a dog in his arms - one CEO's LinkedIn post has sparked a major debate around the concept of "pawternity leave." Anna Ostanina/Getty