7 Reasons Companies Need to Give People Time Off When Their Pet Dies

Grief is a powerful, often underestimated emotion that can deeply affect one’s mental health and productivity.


As someone who has navigated the tumultuous waters of entrepreneurial ventures and the emotional highs and lows that accompany them, I've come to understand the importance of mental well-being in maintaining professional performance and personal happiness.


My personal experience with loss, particularly the passing of my beloved dog Peanut, has underscored the necessity of bereavement leave—not just for the loss of human relatives but also for our cherished pets. In no way would I consider the passing of a pet similar to those of our human family members, but we do experience emotional strain.


Peanut my beloved King Charles Spaniel, was affectionate and loyal nature. He was not just a pet but a family member who shared in the joys and stresses of everyday life. Every day he would lie to my left side whether watching a moving or sleeping in my bed.


When Peanut passed away, the impact on my emotional state was profound. I found myself in a state of depression for two weeks, unable to muster the focus and energy required to manage my business effectively. In some ways that pain will never leave me.

From this deeply personal experience, I’ve derived broader insights about the necessity of bereavement leave. Here are seven reasons why employers should consider granting time off for pet bereavement:


  1. Acknowledging the Bond: The bond between humans and their pets can be significant. For many, pets are considered family members. Recognizing this bond respects the emotional realities of employees.


  1. Fostering Mental Health: Grief can lead to depression, anxiety, and a significant drop in productivity. Providing time to mourn can help mitigate these effects and promote mental health, ultimately benefiting both the employee and the organization.


  1. Enhancing Employee Loyalty: When a company acknowledges the personal hardships of its employees, it builds loyalty and trust. This emotional investment often translates into a deeper commitment to the company.


  1. Promoting a Supportive Culture: A workplace that supports employees through personal losses, including pets, fosters a culture of empathy and support. This can enhance team cohesion and improve overall workplace morale.


  1. Reducing Presenteeism: Coming to work while dealing with intense emotions can lead to presenteeism, where employees are physically present but significantly less productive. Bereavement leave can prevent this, ensuring that when employees return to work, they are truly ready to contribute.


  1. Acknowledging Societal Changes: The role of pets in our lives has evolved, with many people delaying or opting out of traditional family structures in favor of pet companionship. Workplace policies need to reflect these societal shifts.


  1. Setting a Progressive Example: Companies that offer pet bereavement leave position themselves as progressive and sensitive to the evolving needs of their workforce. This can be a deciding factor for prospective employees who are looking for employers who value their entire well-being.



My personal journey through grief after Peanut’s death was a stark reminder of the need for time to heal. Bereavement leave therefore, is not just a policy—it's a recognition of the human condition, a gesture of compassion, and a necessary provision for a healthy, productive workforce. By adopting such policies, companies not only support their employees through challenging times but also enhance their ability to attract and retain top talent who value empathetic workplace cultures.  


-Colin C. Campbell



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