Some Companies Are Now Offering Pet Bereavement Days

Posted by Allie Layos

For those struggling with the loss of a pet, some companies are now offering pet bereavement days to allow employees time to grieve.

With studies showing that the loss of a pet can hurt just as much as the loss of a human relative, it's not all that surprising that some companies are allowing time off for people who have lost a furry loved one.

When Erica Lee lost her beloved dog "Chief," she was completely heartbroken, but her company allowed her to take a day off to regroup and grieve with her son.

"Being able to stay home with him and grieve with him was invaluable," Lee said in an interview with CBS Miami. "It was so, so important to me."

Senior woman and dog

Pet bereavement days aren't required under federal or state law, but several national companies are now making allowances for them.

For example, software company VM Ware and Maxwell Health gives employees flexible days off, while Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants allows managers to offer up to three days away from work, and pet insurance company Trupanion gives employees one paid pet bereavement day.

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While pet bereavement days bring up some questions -- what sort of pets should be included? Just cats and dogs, or do fish and reptiles count as well? -- pet loss counselor Janet Zimmerman told CBS Miami that this time off is critical.

"It's really very, very difficult to function, and if you can't function, you certainly can't function at work, and you're really not the person you were before," Zimmerman said.

"You need the time to get back to some sense of normality."

Lee experienced this firsthand with the loss of Chief.

"This should absolutely be the norm for many businesses if not all," she said.

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Some Companies Are Now Offering Pet Bereavement Days