Paw-ternity leave gives staff paid time with poorly pets.

Don't want to leave your new pup home all day while you're at work?

At least one large New Zealand employer is offering paid leave to look after a pet.

In Britain, almost one in 20 new pet owners have been offered "paw-ternity leave" by their employers, according to research by pet insurance provider Petplan.

Some firms allow workers to take a few hours off to settle in a new household animal, and others offer as much as several weeks.


Employers offering the initiative cited reasons such as the early days of a kitten or puppy's life being vital to the pet's early development, embracing a culture that is passionate about pets, and the appreciation and loyalty from employees who take the leave.

Paw-ternity leave is available to employees at the country's largest bank, ANZ.

"Anyone can request flexibility for any reason, including 'paw-ternity' leave," said ANZ spokeswoman Sonia Bell.

She was aware of three cases in which leave to look after a pet had been granted but did not know the details of each case.

"For our employees, flexibility is about supporting our people in delivering results in the most productive way possible, while balancing these commitments with personal priorities.

"Arrangements are agreed on an individual basis between an employee and their line manager."

Employers & Manufacturers Association spokeswoman Val Hayes said paw-ternity leave was best managed by each employer as they saw fit for their workplace.

"This is about offering flexibility in the workplace, based on a case-by-case basis."

Auckland's Emore Liu, a 23-year-old final-year medical student - and the proud owner of 3-month-old Irish setter, Arthur - backed paw-ternity leave.

She said having several days leave soon after adopting a four-legged friend would benefit the animal and its owner.

"If you are after a dog to be part of the family, you need to give them attention in the same way you would give your own child," Liu said.

"Some dogs have a lot of problems later in life because they didn't get the attention they needed as puppies. Leave for a dog, or any other animal, is the same as maternity leave for a baby."