Pet Friendly Benefits -- Everyone’s Favorite Topic!

The dog days of summer are upon as we move closer to the Labor Day holiday.  What better time to give an update on everyone’s favorite benefit topic?   Employee Benefit News covered a session at the recent SHRM Annual Conference on pet-friendly benefits and one finding really caught our eye.  According to a recent study by Nationwide and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute,  “72% of employees who work for a pet-friendly company would decline a job offer with another company at similar pay in a non-pet friendly workplace.”  WOW.  But -- and there is always a “but” -- not every worksite can become a pet-friendly workplace (like hospitals, for instance).  Also, not everyone is comfortable around animals and not all animals are well-behaved.

We’ve written before about the importance of reviewing the risk and liability associated with bringing pets to work.  There are other things, besides allowing pets at work, employers can do to be pet-friendly.   Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer pet insurance – Mercer survey data indicates that 22% of employers do.
  • Negotiate discounts on pet products and services from a national and/or local merchants.
  • Strike up an arrangement (such as a discount code) with latest digital apps that provide pet supplies and services.
  • Create an internal chat site where pet owners can share info on local dog walkers, favorite pet treats, pet-cams, etc.   
  • Run a photo sharing “contest” where people can share photos of their pets or other activities that give credence to pets as family members. 
  • Feature a “Pet of the Month” on your monthly benefits/wellness communication.  

The call to action is:  Be creative.  Show some love for your employees’ furry, feathered or finned family members.  It could mean a lot to them!



Tracy Watts
by Tracy Watts

Senior Partner, National Leader for U.S. Health Policy

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