Pet owners hoping Kiwi companies next to start offering 'pawternity leave'

You might think this is barking mad, but some companies overseas are offering workers "pawternity" leave.

Pet owners are being offered time off work to train a puppy or look after an ailing pet.

It's something to think about, next time you're in negotiations with your boss.

Mini schnoodles Fred and Frankie are more than a man's best friend to Stephen Johnson - they're his fur kids.

But when they were puppies, leaving them at home on their own, while Stephen was at work, was tough.

"I think back to when these guys were eight weeks old and they were about that big," he said. "To leave them in the morning and not see them til 5 o'clock, I couldn't imagine it."

Just like maternity and paternity entitlements for parents, taking paid leave from work to look after pets is now being allowed overseas

A brewery in Scotland has recently started offering a week's pawternity leave.

"We are seeing a trend towards animals being more recognised... and I guess it's just a recognition by employers of what's important to their employees," employment lawyer Bridget Smith said.

She hasn't come across any pawternity-friendly workplaces here, but says there's a greater understanding about employees needing flexibility, when it comes to their pets.

"Certainly there are requests from employees, following the passing of pets for bereavement leave, but I think there's a general trend towards more flexibility in workplaces fullstop," she said.

As a devoted dad of doggies, Mr Johnson sees the merits of pawternity leave.

"Pets are a big part of our lives now and being able to take time off... is a great idea, definitely keep your staff happy."

But in reality, it would require a law change at the highest level.

"Parental leave in New Zealand is paid by the Government, so it would take a statutory change for the Goverment to be stumping up to pay pawternity leave as well," Ms Smith said.

Leaving it up to employers to take the lead to look after their animal-loving workers.