Employer Grants Woman Paid Leave To Care For Her Sick Dog In Groundbreaking Decision

An Italian dog owner who requested paid time off to care for her sick dog has won an appeal after her employer recorded the time she missed as vacation days.

Anna wanted a few days to care for her ailing English Setter, Cucciola, who she calls her family and told her bosses at Sapienza University in Rome that she needed a few days to care for him.

“I had asked for the paid allowance, honestly explaining what I needed it for – namely to care for my sick dog,” Anna told the Turin newspaper La Stampa. “I later realized that they had counted those days as a holiday and I got angry as a matter of principle. My dogs are my family.”

Anna, who lives alone, had to take the time off work to bring Cucciolo to the veterinarian for surgery, the New York Times reported. She approached Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), an animal advocacy group, for support and together they made the case to her employers.

LAV argued that she could have faced legal ramifications under Italian animal mistreatment and abandonment laws (well-known to be strict in the country) had she not tended to her dog’s health.

The University had a change of heart on the issue and agreed to grant Anna her paid leave. LAV says it’s a ground-breaking decision and could pave the way for other employers to granting compassionate leave for people’s pets in the future.

“Animals are part of our family, and to take care of them, apart from being our duty, must be our right!” LAV posted on Facebook.

“Now, with the due medical and veterinarian certifications, all those who find themselves in the same situation will be able to cite this important precedent,” said Gianluca Felicetti, the group’s chairman. “Another significant step forward that considers animals not kept for profit or production, but to all intents and purposes as members of the family.”

Some companies have begun to provide benefit programs to employees such as time off if they adopt a rescue or shelter dog or time off if a pet passes away.

What do you think of Anna’s story? Should pet owners should be granted similar benefits extended to caregivers who experience family emergencies?

Share Anna’s story if you think such benefits should be considered by employers.