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Puppy owning employees of this Twin Cities company can now work from home thanks to new 'fur-ternity' leave policy

Connor McCarthy and his puppy, Bentley, a Goldendoodle. McCarthy is an employee of Nina Hale, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency. Special to Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS—A Minneapolis company announced Monday, Aug. 20, a new employee benefits program that allows new pet owners to take what they are calling "fur-ternity leave," a policy similar to that of maternity or paternity leave, that allows parents of new pets to work from home, the company said in a news release.

Nina Hale, a digital marketing agency, implemented the program after an employee, who had recently adopted a Goldendoodle puppy, asked his supervisor if there was a way the company could accomodate his schedule to allow him to be with the puppy while still working.

"We realized that we had received these requests a couple of times, and we thought, for so many of our hardworking, dedicated employees, there's an opportunity for us to reciprocate their dedication and give them additional flexibility when they're making a major life change," said Allison McMenimen, executive vice president for client services at Nina Hale, in an interview with MPR News. "And in this case, instead of a human baby, it's a fur baby."

The furternity leave program allows new pet parents to take a week of work-from-home days to spend with their four-legged friends as they adjust to a new home.

"Part of embracing employee satisfaction as a business priority means recognizing important life events that happen outside of the office," said Donna Robinson, chief executive of Nina Hale. "If we want to continue to set the example as a top workplace, it is crucial to offer innovative benefits that help to preserve the work-life happiness of our employee owners."

Nina Hale has built a reputation in the Twin Cities as one of the top places to work. In the company's 13-year history, Nina Hale has been awarded 16 top workplace honors, including being ranked No. 38 in the 2017 Minneapolis Star Tribune's Top 150 Workplaces.

Other pet-related work programs, while extremely scarce worldwide, do exist. Four other businesses are known to accommodate new pet parents with a similar policy, according to a Jan. 4, 2018, story in Quartz, a digital news media outlet.

Mparticle, a New York City data platform provider, offers its employees two weeks of paid leave if an employee adopts a rescue dog. Mars Petcare, an American global pet food manufacturer, was one of the first companies to ever offer its employees "pawternity" leave, which is another name for furternity leave. Employees of Mars Petcare are offered 10 hours of paid leave when they get a new pet and are also allowed to bring their pet into the office after the 10 hours are up.

BitSol Solutions, a British tech company, offers its employees a full week of paid leave if they get a new pet and BrewDog, a Scottish brewing company, allows a similar policy for their employees.

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