How to Ask for Time Off After The Loss Of A Pet
Losing a pet is always hard, whether a long-term illness or an unexpected accident. Nothing is more painful than having to see your furry friend suffer. If you’re struggling to cope with your grief, you may need to take time off work.
Asking for time off is difficult, especially if you’re in a work environment where people don’t understand the bond between humans and there pets. The truth is many of your workmates, or even your boss, may not be familiar with pet-bereavement leave.
A pet-bereavement leave policy is a time of entitlement that some companies offer employees who have lost a pet. It allows you to take the time you need to grieve without using up your annual leave or sick days.
In North America, one out of every two households has a pet, so it’s not surprising that more and more employers are starting to offer pet-bereavement leave. If your company doesn’t have a policy in place, there’s no harm in asking for some time off.
Not All Organizations Offer Pet-Bereavement Leave
The debate on whether the pet-bereavement leave is a “thing” is an ongoing one. A story of a UK sandwich shop employee who lost her dog and got fired on the same day after failing to show up went viral a few years back. It led to a change.org petition with over 100,000 signatures calling for a law that’ll give employees the legal right to take time off after losing a pet.
There is no federal law mandating pet-bereavement leave in the US, but some companies offer it as part of their employee benefits package. That being said, it still isn’t a widespread policy. If you want to take time off to grieve, you may have to get creative with your request.
If your organization has a policy in place, you must still follow the procedures your HR department laid out. In most cases, it’ll involve informing your supervisor of your intention to take leave and filling out the necessary paperwork.
If there’s no policy in place, you’ll need to speak to your boss about taking some time off. For one, be honest about why you need the time off and be prepared to share your feelings. It’s also a good idea to have a solid plan for how you’ll get your work done while you’re away.
Be Sensitive When Asking for Time Off
When asking for time off, you have no choice but to tolerate your boss’ or co-workers’ reactions. Some people may not understand why you need time off and may see it as inconvenient.
This is why you must be clear about your reasons for taking leave. If you’re unable to do your job properly because you’re grieving, that’s a valid reason for taking some time off.
If your boss or co-workers are giving you a hard time, try to be understanding. It’s possible they simply don’t understand what you’re going through. If you can, take the time to explain why the loss of your pet is affecting you so deeply.
Likewise, be considerate of other people’s schedules. If you know that your boss will be out of the office for a week, it’s probably not the best time to ask for leave. The same goes for if there’s an important project that needs to be completed.
In short, use your best judgement when requesting time off and be respectful of other people’s time and schedules.
Open The Lines of Communication
Try to give your boss or HR department as much notice as possible whenever possible. Doing so means they’ll have the time to make the necessary arrangements to cover for you while you’re away.
At the same time, try not to take more leave than you need. Once you’ve had time to grieve and process your loss, you should be able to return to work. If you find that you’re still struggling, you can always speak to your boss about taking additional leave.
Remember that you’re never obligated to share the details of your personal life with your boss or co-workers. It’s never a policy for any office or business to force employees to share intimate details of their lives. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your loss, simply tell them you need some time off for a personal emergency.
Be Prepared for a No
Sadly, there’s always the possibility that your boss will say no to your request for time off. If this happens, don’t take it personally. Instead, try to understand their position and see if there’s room for negotiation. At the end of the day, your boss is trying to run a business and may be unable to afford to have you away from work.
If you cannot agree, your next best action is to take some personal time off. This means using up your vacation days or taking leave without pay. While it’s not ideal, it’s better than not being able to take time off at all.
You Have the Right to Grieve
There’s a reason why the concept of pet-bereavement leave exists, and it’s because grieving is a process that takes time. The death of a furry buddy is a significant loss, and you have every right to grieve. Don’t even think for a second that you don’t have to take time off.